The Robert McLaughlin Gallery receives support from the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund

Oshawa, ON – The Robert McLaughlin Gallery received an investment of funding from Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) to support efforts to promote tourism to Oshawa, specifically as the City celebrates its centennial this year. The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) alongside many other community partners will mark this milestone of Oshawa’s centennial with special activities. 

Over the past two years, the RMG has actively supported the drive to increase cultural tourism led by Oshawa Tourism to revitalize downtown Oshawa and draw further investment in our local cultural, business, and culinary scene. 

As one of the key attractions in Oshawa, the RMG has a key role to play in bringing new visitors downtown.  Admission and access to public programming is always free at the RMG, which should encourage visitation.  The funding from OCAF will enable the RMG to utilize promotional opportunities that are often out of reach for the RMG financially. 

OCAF’s support will be directed to events including but not limited to:

  • RMG Fridays, a cultural standout for Durham Region throughout the year, these events bring higher profile performers with roots in Durham Region to attract tourists.  The events include live performing arts, studio activity, gallery tours, and showcase local food and beverage partners.
  • Contemporary Kids exhibition, an immersive experience over 3,000 square feet of exhibition space, with each artist creating zones of play and engagement throughout the gallery. Seeing the world as children do, the artworks will open up new possibilities for play and enchantment for visitors of all ages.  A free, fun-filled Family Party opens the exhibition on June 1.

Thanks to the support from OCAF, the RMG is well positioned through its vision, mission, and values to ensure that arts activities attract visitors from across the Region, province, and beyond to our Permanent Collection, special exhibitions, programs, and events. 

Quotes

“We’re thrilled to receive support from the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund to help celebrate the City of Oshawa’s centennial, especially during a year that OCAF itself marks 25 years!  Investment funds like OCAF allow us to reach new audiences and engage them with art at the RMG.”

  • Lauren Gould, CEO, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

About The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) is the largest public art gallery in Durham Region. We believe that art cultivates connected and caring communities. As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations and creates a sense of belonging. We build relationships with diverse artists and communities through art. The RMG works in collaboration with artists, partners,and audiences to present dynamic and inspiring collections, exhibitions and programs in an inclusive and equitable environment.

Today, the RMG’s collection of over 4,700 works focuses on telling the continuing story of Canadian abstraction. Each year we present Permanent Collection exhibitions alongside special exhibitions of contemporary art and artists. We prioritize engaging diverse audiences in new and familiar ways through our programming. We foster community connections and partnerships to create a greater sense of belonging.  We reimagine the gallery, making space for all. Annually, we welcome 38,000 visitors and 10,000 participants to engage with us and what we offer.

Quick facts

  • The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) believes that art cultivates connected and caring communities. As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations, and creates a sense of belonging. Annually, the RMG welcomes thousands of patrons to engage with our: exhibitions, education programs, volunteering opportunities, event spaces, shop, artist-in-residence program, and digital programming. Admission to the RMG is FREE.

About the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund

The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) was established in 1999. It has three aims: (1) to increase cultural tourism by providing investments to assist Ontario organizations to develop, promote and present one- off or first time events, or a significant expansion of existing activity, which are designed to attract new tourists and visitors to cultural events; (2) increase the earned revenue capability of the applicant organization; and (3) support events that foster economic growth and contribute to job creation.

OCAF achieves this by providing up front working capital directed towards the applicant’s marketing and promotional costs, with the investment taking the form of a partially repayable loan.  OCAF board decisions are informed by sound economic analysis and measurable results.

Since 1999, the Government of Ontario has invested $51.75 million in the Fund and the success of the initiatives in which OCAF has invested has led to a healthy replenishment of the Fund for future projects.

Quick Facts:

Between 1999 and 2022:

  • OCAF has committed over $85 M to 885 projects across Ontario, in over 100 different communities
  • OCAF-funded events attracted over 75 M visitors
  • Total earned revenues of OCAF-funded events: over $280 M
  • Over 9% of OCAF-funded project revenue was earned
  • OCAF operation expenses have averaged under 8%
  • OCAF has approved nearly $13 M for 297 events in rural and Northern Ontario communities. Those 297 events have attracted over 4M visitors and received over $40 M in earned revenue and reported an average attendance increase of 45% over the previous year

Contact for Media Inquiries:

Sara Rodriguez

Manager, Marketing and Communications

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

srodriguez@rmg.on.ca

$171,100 Grant from the province’s Ontario Trillium Foundation supports expansion of school programming at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

Oshawa, ON – On Friday, MPP Jennifer French visited the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) as it was hosting a school group from John Dryden Public School. While there, MPP French formally congratulated the RMG on the work it has done because of receiving a two-year $171,100 Resilient Communities Fund grant in 2022 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to build resiliency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Robert McLaughlin Gallery has made incredible contributions to our community through art and cultural programming,” said Jennifer French, MPP for Oshawa. “The Ontario Trillium Foundation’s $171,100 Resilient Communities Fund grant will ensure their staff has the technology they need, and allow them to better serve and engage with our community. Art does so much to cultivate connected and caring communities – and that is something we can all benefit from. Thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation!”

Thanks to the support given by the province’s OTF, RMG has been able to pilot new programs and expand the offer of school programming at the gallery. The grant has helped RMG by assisting with staffing and administrative costs, as well as purchasing program materials to deliver educational programs. Before the onset of COVID-19, the RMG was alive with education and learning activities including a full schedule of school visits, sold out art classes and workshops, and sought after camps.  When its doors closed to the public, the team pivoted and began experimenting with virtual learning.  As students returned to the classroom, the RMG’s programs were in high demand and the support from the OTF helped them meet it.   

“The funds from the OTF were essential to the RMG being able to meet the increasing demand for school programming and respond to requests from teachers.  Bringing the gallery to life again with voices and perspectives of students, while also piloting an outreach program has uplifted everyone’s spirits,” said Lauren Gould, CEO, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

As part of the strategy, the RMG piloted at-school programming supporting by 360 tours of the Permanent Collection exhibition and onsite workshops.  A suite of asynchronous learning tools were developed and shared on the RMG website for educators to use for free at their convenience.  With a goal of creating ease for teachers and students, the RMG hopes the changes have helped to meet community needs and provide opportunities for children and youth to engage with art.  

“Non-profit organizations across Ontario deliver programming that makes a difference,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “That’s why funding that my ministry is providing through the OTF is so important. Our government wants to ensure that these programs and spaces remain the heart of communities across our province.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Ontario government with a mission to build healthy and vibrant communities across the province. Last year, OTF invested more than $110M into 1,044 community projects and multi-sector partnerships. Projects aim to enhance economic well-being, foster more active lifestyles, support child and youth development, provide spaces for people to come together and connect, and create a more sustainable environment. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

Quick facts

  • The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) believes that art cultivates connected and caring communities. As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations, and creates a sense of belonging. Annually, the RMG welcomes thousands of patrons to engage with our: exhibitions, education programs, volunteering opportunities, event spaces, shop, artist-in-residence program, and digital programming. Admission to the RMG is FREE.

Associated Links

 

Organization Contact for Media Inquiries:

Sara Rodriguez

Manager, Marketing and Communications

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

srodriguez@rmg.on.ca

About The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) is the largest public art gallery in Durham Region. We believe that art cultivates connected and caring communities. As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations and creates a sense of belonging. We build relationships with diverse artists and communities through art. The RMG works in collaboration with artists, partners,and audiences to present dynamic and inspiring collections, exhibitions and programs in an inclusive and equitable environment.

Today, the RMG’s collection of over 4,700 works focuses on telling the continuing story of Canadian abstraction. Each year we present Permanent Collection exhibitions alongside special exhibitions of contemporary art and artists. We prioritize engaging diverse audiences in new and familiar ways through our programming. We foster community connections and partnerships to create a greater sense of belonging.  We reimagine the gallery, making space for all. Annually, we welcome 38,000 visitors and 10,000 participants to engage with us and what we offer.

About the Ontario Trillium Foundation

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grant-making in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested over $110M into 1,022 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

In recognition of Black Histories and Futures Month

Last year the RMG took time to discuss the many days and months of significance that are marked in Canada, and identify which ones were important to us as a team, to the communities we serve, and to partners and artists we have relationships with. That recognition will look different for each one – it may be a blog post like this, events or exhibitions, showcasing partnerships, or sharing community happenings. These days are important, and we also believe that this work is ongoing and happens throughout the year. 

In recognition of Black Histories and Futures Month

In Canada, traditionally Black History is a month of events and festivities that honour the legacy of Black people in Canada and their communities. More recently, celebrations for Black Futures Month have emerged as a month long observance devoted to celebrating, envisioning, and working toward positive futures for Black people. Last year the RMG was fortunate to host the Region of Durham’s Black History Month event that focused on arts and creativity.  

This year, we wanted to share what we’ve been doing to shift our collecting intentions to have greater representation of Black artists. While it’s easier to find out about programs and partners we work with, the behind the scenes work of collection management doesn’t get shared as frequently.

In 2020 we started a collection audit to understand its composition and the diversity of artists included. We needed to know where we were starting to be able to measure our progress. Collection diversification is a slow process unless a public art gallery receives a windfall through donations or increased funds for acquisitions. The RMG has an annual budget of approximately $20,000 and prioritizes using this budget for the purchase of works by equity-deserving artists since we revised our collections intention in 2021. Today, there are only seven Black artists included, roughly 1% of our permanent collection, and that number has nearly doubled since 2020. 

We have a long way to go and we’re committed to building a collection that more accurately reflects the diversity of Oshawa and Durham Region. One of the artists that was new to the RMG in the last four years is Russell T. Gordon, an incredible abstract artist you can read about below.

We are committed to continuing to program the work of Black artists, build relationships and provide space for Black-led organizations, and ensure diverse representation on our Board of Directors and in our staff team to work towards positive futures.

Russell T. Gordon

In 2020, the RMG was offered a selection of artwork by Russell T. Gordon. When the offer first came in, curators Leila Timmins and Sonya Jones, were beyond excited to learn about this incredible abstract artist. Given his artistic achievements in abstraction, Gordon should be a more recognized name. The fact that he wasn’t known to curators at an art gallery who has an extensive collection of abstract expressionism, sheds light on the larger issue of inequity within Canadian art history – in particular the ongoing story of abstraction in Canada. The RMG was thrilled to add three amazing works by Gordon to the collection.

Russell T. Gordon (Canadian b. America, 1936-2013), Untitled, 2004, collage. Gift of the Estate of Russell T. Gordon, 2020.

Born in Philadelphia, Russell T. Gordon moved to Canada in 1973 to teach painting and drawing at Concordia University in the Department of Studio Arts, where he was a faculty member until 1997. Over the course of his prolific career Gordon has shown in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions. His work can be found in many public collection including the Guggenheim Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Curator Maurice Forget wrote about the depth in Gordon’s body of work as well as his journey as an artist:

“Despite its rich layering, the Russell Gordon work product of the last 40 years is relatively simple to read, because it reflects his own social, intellectual and moral development as a man over that time, with all of his characteristics — most notably being an American black man — he searches for those universal truths which best express his own perspective on humanity… Gordon has sought and achieved in his art a freedom originating with redemption from the clichés of race and social standing, working towards a luminous vision of human life. There is a celebratory current in Gordon’s art.” (2010)

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery undergoes digital transformation

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery digitally transforms its operations with support from the Community Services Recovery Fund

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, community service organizations, including charities, non-profits and Indigenous governing bodies, across Canada have shown impressive stamina and creativity in their response to the diverse and increasingly challenging needs of their communities. The Community Services Recovery Fund responded to the needs and supports for the sector so they could adapt for the long-term.

Before the pandemic, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) had identified that a lack of digital tools would hinder growth. Our priority during lockdowns was our community – we focused our digital strategy on engagement.  Still, the RMG had significant revenue loss in 2020-2022: 83% drop in learning activities, 82% drop in fundraising, and 73% drop in venue rentals and the shop. 

The RMG received $78,404 in funding from the Community Services Recovery Fund to digitally transform operations by transitioning to cloud based accounting software, adopting and integrating a point-of-sale system, and moving to more advanced fundraising software.  This project will help the gallery adapt to new ways of working through electronic payments, integration of financial tools to reduce manual processes for our reduced staff complement, and increasing membership and donation revenues.

While projects like these may not have as much obvious impact for the RMG’s role in the community, making these changes frees up valuable staff time to deliver more programming and modernizes our back-of-house function.  The RMG launched their new CRM database, Keela, in the summer and have worked with consultants Samantha Zimmerman and Anna Mathew to manage the transition to new financial systems.

The RMG is grateful to the Community Services Recovery Fund, $400million investment from the Government of Canada, to support community service organizations, including charities, non-profits and Indigenous governing bodies, as they adapt and modernize their organizations.

Quotes

“By alleviating the administrative burden on our staff, we will free up time to focus on our core activities.  Our operations team can focus more attention on visitor services, tours, staff wellbeing, and membership engagement. There are rare opportunities to invest funds in system and processes; we’re excited for this project to bring our operations up to date.”                

  • Lauren Gould, CEO, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

Quick facts

  • The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) believes that art cultivates connected and caring communities. As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations, and creates a sense of belonging. Annually, the RMG welcomes thousands of patrons to engage with our: exhibitions, education programs, volunteering opportunities, event spaces, shop, artist-in-residence program, and digital programming. Admission to the RMG is FREE.

Contacts

Sara Rodriguez

Manager, Marketing and Communications

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

srodriguez@rmg.on.ca

About The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) is the largest public art gallery in Durham Region. We believe that art cultivates connected and caring communities. As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations and creates a sense of belonging. We build relationships with diverse artists and communities through art. The RMG works in collaboration with artists, partners, and audiences to present dynamic and inspiring collections, exhibitions and programs in an inclusive and equitable environment.

Today, the RMG’s collection of over 4,700 works focuses on telling the continuing story of Canadian abstraction. Each year we present Permanent Collection exhibitions alongside special exhibitions of contemporary art and artists. We prioritize engaging diverse audiences in new and familiar ways through our programming. We foster community connections and partnerships to create a greater sense of belonging.  We reimagine the gallery, making space for all. Annually, we welcome 38,000 visitors and 10,000 participants to engage with us and what we offer.

About The Community Services Recovery Fund

The Government of Canada delivered the Community Services Recovery Fund  through three National Funders – Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada, and United Way Centraide Canada. The National Funders distributed funding to eligible community service organizations, including charities, non-profits, and Indigenous governing bodies, providing services in communities across Canada.

National Day for Truth + Reconciliation – September 30, 2023

Canada is marking the third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, established to honour the intention of the 80th Call to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report “to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” 

Each year the RMG closes to the public and our staff team engages in collective and personal reflection and learning.  Our Indigenous staff members determine how they want to spend the day.  This year the team will come together on Monday, October 2 for that learning. On September 30, the RMG is closed.   

There are more events and commemorations as each year passes to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  We will continue to share links to our past blog posts in the hopes that these resources are useful to your journey of learning and unlearning.  I remain grateful to our past team member Samuel Powless and to Erin Szikora (Associate Curator, Exhibitions) for putting them together for us all.  

The City of Oshawa also has a webpage that you can explore.  It includes the location of Orange Ribbon Memorials across the City and a local resource guide.

Continuing to support and advocate for the self-determination of Indigenous people and communities is part of our ongoing work, both internally and with community.  As a settler, I understand my responsibility to understanding the truth and working towards reconciliation throughout the year.  While these days and months are important, ensuring they are always part of the societal dialogue, our programming, and making our organizational systems and structures more equitable is paramount.  

With thanks,

Lauren

Land acknowledgement

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is in the treaty lands of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. This land has been the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg since 1700; before that time, it was stewarded by various communities belonging to the Haudenosaunee and Wendat confederacies. It is covered under the Williams Treaties and the Dish with One Spoon Wampum.

This area continues to be home to many Indigenous people from across Mishiike Minisi. We recognize the sovereignty of all Indigenous nations and are grateful for the opportunity to learn, live, and work on this land.

We acknowledge that the RMG is in treaty land, and respect our collective responsibility to protect and nurture the land. We also recognize the continuing impacts of colonialism and our responsibilities to redress the ways this has helped shape our organization. We are committed to working to address structural inequities and to centering Indigenous voices in the gallery.

Meet our Collection/Découvrez notre Collection

July 24, 2023/24 juillet 2023

We are excited to announce that our new Collections pages are live! With the support of a Digital Access to Heritage Grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage, the RMG team embarked on a process of reimagining how visitors can digitally access and interact with our collection.  Our permanent art collection is one of our greatest assets, and we are always looking to find ways to share it more broadly with our community. This project was an opportunity to improve access to our Permanent Collection through a more engaging and user-friendly digital experience.

One of our key goals was finding ways for visitors to explore and let their curiosity lead them. More than just a simple search function, the online database has been transformed to become a space for learning that offers various ways to explore. You can create a personal account to assemble and curate your own online ‘collection’ and scroll through a timeline to visualize the history of Canadian abstract art. Seeking copyright permissions was an important part of this project in order to increase the number of artworks with images.  We have increased the number of works with images through this dedicated copyright project. There is also more in-depth interpretive information about artworks and educational activities to inspire you.

It was incredible to work with the amazing teams over at Puncture Design and Helios Design Labs who also redesigned our website in 2022. They took time to understand the RMG, our collection and our audience, and developed ways to animate the collection through interactive components while carrying through the accessible, contemporary visual design of our website. Our long-standing relationship with Minisis Inc. allowed for a smooth data transfer to a new, updated collections database that functions for visitors and for our team.

We hope you enjoy exploring our new collections pages, taking a virtual stroll through the interactive timeline, and collecting artworks into your own personalized web collections. We are so excited to be able to offer new ways for you to engage with the collection and to build on the ways we connect in this digital age.

Nous avons le plaisir d’annoncer que nos nouvelles pages sur les collections sont en direct ! Avec le soutien d’une subvention pour l’accès numérique au patrimoine du ministère du Patrimoine canadien, l’équipe de RMG s’est lancée dans un processus de réinvention de la manière dont les visiteurs peuvent accéder et interagir numériquement avec notre collection. Notre collection d’art permanente est l’un de nos plus grands atouts, et nous cherchons toujours à trouver des moyens de la partager plus largement avec notre communauté. Ce projet était l’occasion d’améliorer l’accès à notre collection grâce à une expérience numérique plus engageante et plus conviviale.

L’un de nos principaux objectifs était de trouver des moyens permettant aux visiteurs d’explorer et de se laisser guider par leur curiosité. Plus qu’une simple fonction de recherche, la base de données en ligne s’est métamorphosée pour devenir un espace d’apprentissage qui propose diverses possibilités d’exploration. Vous pouvez créer un compte personnel pour assembler et conserver votre propre « collection » en ligne et faire défiler une chronologie pour visualiser l’histoire de l’art abstrait canadien. La recherche d’autorisations de droits d’auteur a constitué une partie importante de ce projet afin d’augmenter le nombre d’œuvres d’art comportant des images. Nous avons augmenté le nombre d’œuvres avec des images grâce à ce projet dédié aux droits d’auteur. Vous trouverez également des informations interprétatives plus approfondies sur les œuvres d’art et des activités éducatives pour vous inspirer.

C’était incroyable de travailler avec les équipes extraordinaires de Puncture Design et Helios Design Labs, qui ont également remanié notre site web en 2022. Ils ont pris le temps de comprendre la RMG, notre collection et notre public, et ont développé des moyens d’animer la collection grâce à des composants interactifs tout en conservant la conception visuelle accessible et contemporaine de notre site web. Notre relation de longue date avec Minisis Inc. a permis un transfert de données en douceur vers une nouvelle base des données actualisée de collections mise à jour qui fonctionne pour les visiteurs et pour notre équipe.

Nous espérons que vous prendrez plaisir à explorer les nouvelles pages de nos collections, à vous promener virtuellement dans la chronologie interactive et à rassembler des œuvres d’art dans vos propres collections web personnalisées. Nous sommes ravis de pouvoir vous offrir de nouveaux moyens d’engager avec la collection et de renforcer les liens qui nous unissent à l’ère du numérique.

Deaccessioning at the RMG

Key Points

  • Deaccessioning is the process by which a work of art or object is permanently removed from a gallery or museum’s collection.
  • Artworks to be deaccessioned are presented and approved by the RMG’s Acquisitions and Collections Committee, then following the Committee’s recommendation, reviewed and approved by the RMG’s Board of Directors.
  • The RMG is following the set of procedures for deaccessioning artworks outlined in our Collections Management Policy and several national, American, and international museum guidelines.
  • Deaccessioned artworks are offered to other public galleries, sold through reputable art auction, returned to the original artist or, rarely, permanently destroyed.

During a 2020 Ask a Curator Instagram Live event, RMG Curator Sonya Jones was asked: “is Deaccessioning still a dirty word?” After chuckling at the question, Jones responded that she did not believe it was still a dirty word and that it was an important part of caring for collections in order to address storage issues and to refine the collections scope. The question was important; it is true that historically deaccessioning has been a contested issue in the museum and gallery world. The heart of the issue usually lies with what happens with any funds raised from the sales of collection items or if the work being removed is a beloved community favourite.

What is deaccessioning?

Deaccessioning is the process by which a work of art or object is permanently removed from a gallery or museum’s collection. Without this widely recognized and regulated collections management practice, institutions would be facing storage crises as well as having artworks that do not align with their collections mandate. The RMG’s permanent collection is rooted in its original focus on Painters Eleven and telling the continuing story of contemporary Canadian Art. When acquiring new artwork for the collection these areas are still a priority alongside an intention to collect work by equity deserving artists in order to reflect a more holistic, diverse, equitable, and reflective history of Canadian art.

How are artworks chosen for deaccessioning?

Following careful consideration and research by the curators, in March 2023 a list of artworks to be deaccessioned was presented and approved by the RMG’s Acquisitions and Collections Committee, then following the Committee’s recommendation, reviewed and approved by the RMG’s Board of Directors.

Like all galleries and museums, the RMG does not take deaccessioning lightly. Compiling the list of artworks was a lengthy and careful process. The RMG is following the set of procedures for deaccessioning artworks outlined in our Collections Management Policy, so that the process is handled in a sensitive and thoroughly documented manner according to sector guidelines. These procedures follow ethical standards and practices set by the current guidelines of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the Canadian Museums Association (CMA), the Canadian Art Museums Directors Organization (CAMDO), the American Association of Museums (AAM), the Ontario Museums Association (OMA), and Galleries Ontario Galeries (GOG).

What criteria does an artwork need to meet to be deaccessioned?

When putting the list together, the RMG considered how each artwork fits within the collection, and whether its removal can open up the possibility for new and more priority acquisitions. If monies are realized from the deaccessioning of works of art, they may be used only for the purchase of other artworks or for collections care and management. Only artworks that meet the following strict Canadian Museum Association criteria can be considered for deaccessioned:

  • Gallery’s inability to care for and maintain the artwork
  • Lack of significance or relevance to the collection or terms of acquisitions
  • Redundancy or duplication within the collection
  • Work of poor quality or lesser importance
  • Artwork determined to be false or fraudulent
  • Artworks acquired through unethical means, and Repatriation

In the case of the works selected by the RMG, the criteria that these artworks meet are the gallery’s inability to care for or maintain the work, lack of significant or relevance to the collection, work of lesser importance and redundancy within the collection. The removal of these works will help the RMG better align the collection with our priorities for acquisition outlined in our Collections Management Policy, and will benefit both the scope of the collection and storage space.

What happens when artworks are deaccessioned?

How galleries and museums remove artworks from collections is also clearly outlined in the CMA’s deaccessioning guidelines. The RMG will prioritize keeping the artwork within the public domain, so will first offer to public galleries across Canada. We are committed to transparency, so we will make all effort to notify donors and artists of any transfer to another collection. Only if there’s no interest from public galleries will we put the artworks for public sale at a reputable art auction house such as Waddington’s Auctioneers & Appraisers. As mentioned earlier, any funds raised by the sale of artworks will only be used for purchasing new acquisitions and collections management. Artworks can also be returned to an artist so long as they were not the donor of the artwork. Permanent destruction is a last resort and is very rarely done. It is only considered if the artwork is damaged beyond reasonable repair so can’t be offered to another institution, made available for sale at auction, or the artist does not want it.

FAQs

Has the RMG deaccessioned anything before?

Yes, we have. Most recently in 2022 we deaccessioned the Pedlar People Lion, an object designed by Pedlar People Limited to decorate the entrance to Alexandra Park c. 1908. The decision was based on “Lack of significance or relevance to the collection or terms of acquisitions” as the Pedlar People Lion is more of a historical object than an artwork. Since the Pedlar Lion is an important object to Oshawa’s history, the RMG gifted it directly to the Oshawa Museum. This object is better suited to the collecting mandate of the Oshawa Museum and will have more opportunities for engagement and historical research.

Can the artwork be given back to their original donors?

No. When a person donates an item, they transfer all ownership over to The Robert McLaughlin Gallery. Donors may also have been issued a tax receipt when they donated items. If so, it would be against Canadian tax laws and cause for the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke charitable status.

Can the artwork be given back to the artist?

If the artist was not the donor of the artwork, then yes it can be returned to them. However, priority should be given to keeping it in a public collection to be enjoyed by all.

Who decides if an artwork is to be deaccessioned?

Many people are involved in the decision making process. First, the curator will recommend to the CEO artworks to be deaccessioned after extensive review and research. From there, a report and presentation is made to the Acquisition and Collections Committee, comprised of members of our Board of Directors. Following the Committee’s approval and recommendation, it then must be approved by a two-thirds majority vote of the Board of Directors.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Sonya Jones, Interim Senior Curator or Lauren Gould, CEO at 905-576-3000.

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s new green space is opening July 7

The Backyard at the RMG

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery creates an accessible community-arts green space in Oshawa with funding from Government of Canada, Ontario Trillium Foundation and City of Oshawa.                  

Over the past year, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) has been working collaboratively with landscape architects Brook McIlroy and artists LeuWebb Projects to re-imagine the greenspace directly behind the gallery.  With feedback from our Community Advisory Circle and staff team, our plans reimagine the backyard as a new type of public space that incorporates creativity, play and art. Featuring a new shade and performance space, seating, gardens and barrier-free accessibility to the creek, visitors will be able to explore nature differently, connect with community and dream new possibilities.

The reinvigorated outdoor space will activate and expand the possibilities of the Gallery. Last year, the pilot outdoor RMG Friday concert series and summer camps were able to experience the joy of free access to a greenspace. The free opening of The Backyard at the RMG will be celebrated on Friday, July 7, 2023, with performances by Tania Joy and the Professors of Funk. Concertgoers will also have the opportunity to: meet the designers, plant our raised beds with the Oshawa Garden Club, participate in rock painting, and enjoy refreshments from local vendors. 

The RMG received funding support for these improvements from the Government of Canada through (FedDev Ontario). Additional support was also received through the federal Enabling Accessibility Fund, the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s (OTF) Community Building Fund, and the City of Oshawa.

The Backyard at the RMG will feature programming for all ages, abilities and interests. Follow the RMG for up-to-date information and to participate in community events. The RMG will also be seeking support for phase two of development that is hoped to launch in 2024 to commemorate the City of Oshawa’s centennial celebrations. 

Quotes

“The re-imagined greenspace at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery will not only help define the community through new spaces for creative expression and social interactions but also draw new residents and visitors in to enjoy the space and each other’s company. Our Government recognizes the value of investing in community infrastructure, and we are happy that we could support this exciting project.”  

The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“The Backyard at the RMG is a space that was reimagined as a result of the pandemic.  We felt the need from our community to have an outdoor space for programming, a natural space for art and creativity.  We’re grateful to our funders, designers for their dedication, and importantly to our community partners that have helped to shape the vision for the Backyard.”

Lauren Gould, CEO, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

“On behalf of City Council and the Oshawa community, we’re excited to celebrate the opening of The Backyard at the RMG. The Backyard outdoor space will bring even more cultural events and programming for all ages to our great city and further establish downtown Oshawa as a vibrant cultural hub.”

Mayor Dan Carter, The City of Oshawa

Quick facts

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) believes that art cultivates connected and caring communities. As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations, and creates a sense of belonging. Annually, the RMG welcomes thousands of patrons to engage with our: exhibitions, education programs, volunteering opportunities, event spaces, shop, artist-in-residence program, and digital programming. Admission to the RMG is FREE.

Associated Links

Contacts

Edward Hutchinson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
edward.hutchinson@feddevontario.gc.ca

Sara Rodriguez
Manager, Marketing and Communications
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery
srodriguez@rmg.on.ca

Shannon McFadyen
Manager, Corporate Communications
City of Oshawa
SMcFadyen@oshawa.ca

About The Robert McLaughlin Gallery
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) is the largest public art gallery in Durham Region. We believe that art cultivates connected and caring communities. As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations and creates a sense of belonging. We build relationships with diverse artists and communities through art. The RMG works in collaboration with artists, partners, and audiences to present dynamic and inspiring collections, exhibitions and programs in an inclusive and equitable environment.

Today, the RMG’s collection of over 4,700 works focuses on telling the continuing story of Canadian abstraction. Each year we present Permanent Collection exhibitions alongside special exhibitions of contemporary art and artists. We prioritize engaging diverse audiences in new and familiar ways through our programming. We foster community connections and partnerships to create a greater sense of belonging.  We reimagine the gallery, making space for all. Annually, we welcome 38,000 visitors and 10,000 participants to engage with us and what we offer.

About FedDev Ontario
For 13 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation, growth and job creation in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving productivity, growing revenues, creating jobs, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects, our Southern Ontario Spotlight, and FedDev Ontario’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About the Ontario Trillium Foundation
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grant-making in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested over $110M into 1,022 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

About LeuWebb Projects
LeuWebb Projects is the creative union between artists Christine Leu and Alan Webb, through which they apply their professional design backgrounds to produce moments of beauty in the public realm. Since 2011, they have created more than 20 site-specific artworks across the world. With each piece, Leu and Webb summon their shared artistic and architectural expertise in exploring how a site’s qualities can serve as metaphors for storytelling and critical discourse.

Art and architecture share an integral relationship, meeting at many points including visual, spatial and tactile expression. The unique approach of LeuWebb Projects lives within the space shared by art and architecture, their practice fueling hybrid forms and new directions within the contemporary visual arts tradition. Light, texture and sound are key components of their practice that they weave together through the innovative use of materials and responsive technologies to create art that is not only seen, but also experienced.

About Brook McIlroy
Brook McIlroy is an award-winning landscape architecture, planning, urban design, and architecture firm with offices in Toronto, Thunder Bay, and Winnipeg. As a unique, multi-disciplinary practice, we design projects as whole environments, addressing all scales and facets from community visions to detailed design and construction administration of parks, streets, buildings, and infrastructure. Over 21 years, we have worked extensively with municipalities, post-secondary institutions, and private developers in the design and creation of streetscapes, parks, public art, waterfronts, and design guidelines. Our progressive focus on the public realm and placemaking cerates lively, people-oriented spaces that combine landscape architecture with cultural interpretation and programming.

We work in the medium of the built and natural environments driven by a belief that we have been given an incredible gift in Canada, and an opportunity to get it right – to create environments where people can prosper and thrive while protecting the land, water, air and the other species that make life possible. This work is driven by a uniquely Canadian design ethos derived from research into place, diverse cultures, Indigenous world views, sustainability, natural materials, and the application of new technologies.

Download press release here.


Thank you to North American Steel Equipment Inc.!

We’re fortunate enough to receive different kinds of support from various people and organizations.  Whether through donations, in-kind gifts, or visitors sharing their experiences of the gallery with friends, every little bit helps to further our commitment to cultivating community and connection through art.

North American Steel Equipment Inc. (NASE) has long provided in-kind donations to The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) to assist with storing artwork in our vault, housing archives, and organizing materials for our exhibition installations. 

“After our recent HVAC improvements to the vault and a lot of reorganization during the pandemic during our periods of closure, we needed some new shelving to bring order to the new spaces,” said Lauren Gould, CEO. “North American Steel Equipment Inc. was quick to jump to our request and generously donated shelving for our wood storage as well as for our archives.”

“North American Steel is proud to support the growth and development of the local arts community. As a leading steel manufacture in the area, we recognize the importance of the arts in our society and believe that a thriving arts community is a vital part of a healthy city.

We are honored to provide support to The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and its many exhibitions, events, and programs. We believe that the Gallery is an important cultural institution that plays a crucial role in promoting the arts, fostering creativity and providing education to the public,” said Derik Gould (no relation!), Dealer Sales Representative at NASE.

“North American Steel is proud to be part of a community that values the arts and recognizes their importance within the local city.”

We are so grateful for their continued support!

RMG announces project team for community arts greenspace

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (the RMG) is planning big changes to expand public access and use of the large greenspace behind the gallery, transforming it into a community arts greenspace by spring 2023.  So far this year the RMG has hosted three RMG Friday events outdoors, with over 500 attendees at a performance by local bands Dizzy and Wooly in May.  The space is also regularly used by RMG summer camps.

Lauren Gould, CEO at the RMG, shares “Our goal is to create a significant outdoor space through creative placemaking and placekeeping that will lead to greater community well-being for all.  This greenspace will encourage people to come downtown and experience a recreational and cultural hub.  We’re delighted to announce that we’ll be working with LeuWebb Projects and Brook McIlroy to bring this project to life.”  

The project will include:

  • Improving the greenspace through accessible, artist-designed gathering and play spaces
  • Addition of a permanent shade structure and seating
  • Creation of an Indigenous medicine and butterfly garden in collaboration with our partners
  • Adapting and creatively using the slope to improve access throughout the space
  • Creating a welcoming gathering space on our front steps
  • Commissioning and restoration of public artwork(s)

Additionally, to align with the RMG’s goals of improving greenspace and providing a safe and secure area to support expanded programs and services, the City of Oshawa funded and installed a perimeter fence in the outdoor space in fall 2021.

“The City of Oshawa is eagerly looking forward to seeing the completion of the RMG’s arts greenspace. This community outdoor space will be a feature in the heart of our city that will be enjoyed by community members and will attract new visitors to the downtown,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter.

Community consultation is vital to the project team.   The RMG recruited an advisory circle of community members to provide feedback at key milestones, and PROCESS consultants have actively gathered feedback at RMG events.

LeuWebb Projects shared “We’re excited to be a part of this creative initiative for a new type of greenspace and are looking forward to collaboratively building on the great work taking place at RMG to open up even more access to arts and culture for communities in Oshawa and the Durham region.”

The RMG is an asset for Oshawa and Durham residents and this project will develop a creative, community space for all to use and enjoy.  Follow the RMG on social media and subscribe to their e-newsletter to keep up to date on the design as it develops and learn how to get involved.

About the Project Team

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) is the largest public art gallery in Durham Region.  We believe that art cultivates connected and caring communities.  As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations, and creates a sense of belonging.  We build relationships with diverse artists and communities through art. The RMG works in collaboration with artists, partners, and audiences to present dynamic and inspiring collections, exhibitions, and programs in an inclusive and equitable environment.

Today, the RMG’s collection of over 4,700 works focuses on telling the continuing story of Canadian abstraction.  Each year we present Permanent Collection exhibitions alongside special exhibitions of contemporary art and artists.  We prioritize engaging diverse audiences in new and familiar ways through our programming.  We foster community connections and partnerships to create a greater sense of belonging.  We reimagine the gallery, making space for all.  Annually, we welcome 38,000 visitors and 10,000 participants to engage in our: exhibitions, education programs, volunteering opportunities, event spaces, shop, artist-in-residence program, and digital programming.  Admission to the RMG is FREE and we typically offer over 100 free public programs each year.

LeuWebb Projects

LeuWebb Projects is the creative union between artists Christine Leu and Alan Webb, through which they apply their professional design backgrounds to produce moments of beauty in the public realm. Since 2011, they have created more than 20 site-specific artworks across the world. With each piece, Leu and Webb summon their shared artistic and architectural expertise in exploring how a site’s qualities can serve as metaphors for storytelling and critical discourse.

Art and architecture share an integral relationship, meeting at many points including visual, spatial and tactile expression. The unique approach of LeuWebb Projects lives within the space shared by art and architecture, their practice fueling hybrid forms and new directions within the contemporary visual arts tradition. Light, texture and sound are key components of their practice that they weave together through the innovative use of materials and responsive technologies to create art that is not only seen, but also experienced.

Brook McIlroy

Brook McIlroy is an award-winning landscape architecture, planning, urban design, and architecture firm with offices in Toronto, Thunder Bay, and Winnipeg. As a unique, multi-disciplinary practice, we design projects as whole environments, addressing all scales and facets from community visions to detailed design and construction administration of parks, streets, buildings, and infrastructure. Over 21 years, we have worked extensively with municipalities, post-secondary institutions, and private developers in the design and creation of streetscapes, parks, public art, waterfronts, and design guidelines. Our progressive focus on the public realm and placemaking cerates lively, people-oriented spaces that combine landscape architecture with cultural interpretation and programming.

We work in the medium of the built and natural environments driven by a belief that we have been given an incredible gift in Canada, and an opportunity to get it right – to create environments where people can prosper and thrive while protecting the land, water, air and the other species that make life possible. This work is driven by a uniquely Canadian design ethos derived from research into place, diverse cultures, Indigenous world views, sustainability, natural materials, and the application of new technologies.

PROCESS

PROCESS is a strategy, engagement, communications, and planning studio. Through creative, collaborative, equitable and community-driven approaches, we transform how we plan, tell new stories and implement change.

People are at the centre of our work. Our curiosity drives us to solve complex problems and leads to responsive and meaningful outcomes.