The Art Gallery of Sudbury (AGS) announced in 2010 its plans to build the first ever purpose-built art gallery in the Greater Sudbury area. Once erected, and with a commitment from the Carmichael family, the AGS will be renamed the Franklin Carmichael Art Centre, after one of the founding members of the Group of Seven. This new venue will dedicate 14,000 square feet to the permanent collection, national touring exhibitions, as well as studio and teaching spaces.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add a landmark cultural tourism attraction that honours, preserves and celebrates the area's outstanding Group of Seven heritage. As Sudbury's surrounding landscape was a source of inspiration for Franklin Carmichael's work, it's a natural fit that the gallery is built here and recognizes one of Canada's most influential artists.
The Art Gallery of Sudbury is a vibrant, multifaceted centre providing unique and exciting opportunities for children and adults to engage with visual arts. The AGS's permanent collection includes over 2,000 historical and contemporary works of art. The Gallery has organized impressive exhibitions such as the recent Louie Palu: Cage Call: Life and Death in the Hard Rock Mining Belt; Bruno Cavallo: Eye of the Artist in 2004; acclaimed national exhibitions with partners such as the National Gallery of Canada for The Drawings and Paintings of Daphne Odjig: A Retrospective Exhibition in 2007; and hosted many outstanding touring exhibitions including George McLean: The Living Landscape in 2011.
As a result of the work of its dedicated staff, board and volunteers, the Gallery also offers a wide variety of education programs in both English and French to encourage art creation and appreciation among young and old alike. In 2011-12, over 12,000 people took advantage of its engaging programs and exhibitions.
The Art Gallery of Sudbury was established in 1967 as a Centennial project of the Sudbury and District Chamber of Commerce. Originally operating as the Laurentian University Museum and Art Centre, the Gallery was incorporated in 1997 and is currently housed in a turn-of-the-century mansion.
The new facility is urgently needed as the current home is insufficient to meet the exhibition, curatorial and preservation needs of the Art Gallery of Sudbury. In fact, only 10 percent of the permanent collection can be displayed at any one time.
Though an exact location has yet to be determined, it will be built in the downtown core where it can enrich our city centre and play a role in the revitalization and economic growth of the city and northeastern Ontario. It will attract tourists, create new jobs, educate young and old alike, undertake innovative curatorial directions, be a source of community pride and a centrepiece for the vibrant and creative arts community of Greater Sudbury.
The Franklin Carmichael Art Centre will be central in leading the way in arts and culture development for northeastern Ontario and is a key building block for the City of Greater Sudbury's future plans.