That’s a wrap!

By Christy Chase

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) and AWCCU Financial have cashed in on their partnership and are taking art into the community in an unexpected way.

In late 2016, the two community organizations unveiled ATM machines showcasing three works of abstract art by Painters Eleven (P11), a focus of the RMG’s permanent collection.

Now when the credit union’s members carry out their financial business at one of three ATMs, they do so at machines featuring colourful works of art and a connection to Durham’s rich art history.


It’s a continuation of a partnership in which AWCCU Financial sponsors RMG Fridays, a vibrant, free community event of art, music and fun held the first Friday evening of each month.

Meghyn Cox, AWCCU Financial’s creative marketing manager, said the idea came out of a discussion with a colleague when the credit union was updating its ATM technology and surrounds to complement new branding. The colleague suggested working with the RMG and Cox took it from there.


“I wanted to …  get the ball rolling for more and bigger participation with the gallery,” she said. “It’s about awareness in the community.”

Cox imagined using art on the ATMs as a way to build community. She and the RMG worked closely and came up  with three works from Painters Eleven. Once AWCCU Financial members approved, wraps were produced for ATMs in Oshawa and Bowmanville.

The P11 paintings selected are Encounter by Alexandra Luke, an Oshawa artist, Flowers by Tom Hodgson, and Small Structure by Oscar Cahén. Each ATM carries a small plaque noting the art and the artist.

Cox said the wraps have attracted attention as they were meant to do.

“We’ve had some feedback from the community,” she said.

People have asked why they’ve never seen something like that before and if more ATMs will feature art.

Lucas Cabral, communications and digital marketing lead at the RMG, said the wraps are “a nice way to connect art with the community.”

He said AWCCU Financial understands the value of arts in the community and that the credit union does “a lot of connecting with the community.”

Cabral noted the two organizations have this in common.

Cox said AWCCU Financial is made up of members of the community which makes it part of the community, as is the RMG.

The ATM wraps won’t be coming down anytime soon.

“The craftsmanship means we can leave them up for a long time,” Cox said.

That’s not to say AWCCU Financial and the RMG have put a wrap on this unique partnership.  Cox said she’d like to see it continue, with the original wraps swapped out with different works of art on a regular basis.

You can check out the art on ATMs at AWCCU Financial in Oshawa and Bowmanville, or at the RMG where at least 11 works from its Painters Eleven collection are on display at all times.


Christy Chase is a long-time resident of Oshawa, a writer, and former reporter and editor with local newspapers. She now enjoys exploring her artistic side as a volunteer at the RMG


Art Police: Playing Around

Art Police: Playing Around
Art Lab through end of August

By Christy Chase

Summer is one of the best times to play.

That’s just what four artists are doing this summer in RMG’s Art Lab, a space designed for experimentation and exploration. It’s located on the first floor.

Rebecca Casalino, Caroline Popiel, Claudia Rick and Andrea Aleman-Pastor, all recent graduates of the University of Guelph’s studio art program, make up the art collective Art Police. They will be playing around during their residency in the glass-walled lab through the end of August.

But it won’t be all fun and games. They are planning a look at childhood but with a twist, a tinge of adulthood.

They consider themselves in a good position to take a fun, edgy look at childhood.

“The thing is you graduate, you’re in this limbo” between childhood and adulthood, Popiel said.


Up first is a blanket fort, complete with blankets, sheets and stuffed toys, but with a construction crew twist. This will be followed by a community gym and then a playground, perhaps with an outdoor component.

True to the idea of the Art Lab, the four artists will concentrate on building installations, having fun and exploring.
“We’re planning to be hanging out in here doing things,” said Casalino.



And everyone is welcome to visit. In fact, the artists are hoping to see a row of nose prints smudging the windows, from the children in the summer art camps, and to get inquiries from adults.
“I think it should be a little confusing,” Rick said.

Aleman-Pastor said it’s “really important for people to see the artists at work,” to see what studio work and space means to artists.

People should expect a healthy dose of humour from the Art Police.

“We love over the top here,” said Popiel. “We’re always trying to do something cheesy.”

The four women, who met at university, have been working as a collective for two years, and creating projects for one.
Casalino had applied to the RMG for a show last year but the collective wasn’t accepted. Instead, the artists were offered this residency. They’ve been planning and collecting material (they admit to being hoarders) since last October.

With commutes and part-time jobs, the artists won’t all be at the Art Lab at the same time, but someone should be there at least four days a week.
The artists will document their residency online, through Facebook at ART POLICE and Instagram at art.police.collective and tumblr at .

Christy Chase is a long-time resident of Oshawa and a writer. She enjoys exploring her artistic side as a volunteer at the RMG.