As we make note of the passing of Mae Nurse on September 8th, we are reminded of her amazing support of the arts. Mae’s dedication is obvious each time we walk into the RMG and look at the soaring glass in the foyer (named in honour of both Mae and her husband, William, who we knew as Bill) and the well-appointed gallery spaces of the Arthur Erickson building.
Mae had been a dedicated gallery volunteer since the 1970s, but she will be most keenly remembered as the Chair of the Building Committee of the 1987 gallery renovation and expansion. For over three years, she and Bill, who was the Campaign Manager, worked tirelessly to make the dream of an enlarged gallery space a reality not only for the citizens of Oshawa and Durham Region, but for those who continue to visit from across Canada, as well as internationally. She was a rare combination of being both a visionary and one who knew how to get things done: many of the building’s fine details are undoubtedly due to Mae’s persistence and tenacity. Along with her time, she and Bill (who passed away in 2016), were generous in their financial support of the gallery, helping to make the visual arts accessible to so many of our visitors.
Mae’s legacies are many including her children and grandchildren, as well as her many friends. She also supported artists and her and Bill’s art collection is a tribute to that support. We at the RMG will always remember her not only for the generosity of her time and skill in transforming the gallery some thirty years ago, but as a lifelong friend of the arts.