Director's Message

Welcome from Carolyn

The MacLaren Art Centre is housed in an award-winning building in downtown Barrie, providing the city with an architectural landmark and year-round cultural attraction for tourists and residents alike. But we are much more than an art museum with an impressive collection of 27,456 works of art: we are a central meeting place, an educational centre and a creative hub for our community.

As a public art gallery, we strive to bring people to art and art to people in ways that are engaging, enriching and enjoyable. In 2017, we presented 31 contemporary art exhibitions and offered 655 art education activities for audiences of all ages, interests and abilities. Last year, we reached 53,275 people in our programmes at the Gallery, in the schools and in the community—and 20,575 of these participants were children and youth.

This level of activity and outreach is only possible with the support of local businesses, community organizations, individual donors and volunteers. In 2017, 226 volunteers donated 4,000 hours to the Gallery, and 178 local businesses were involved with the MacLaren as sponsors, donors and advertisers; some for the first time, many for the long term. All provide essential support that allows us to welcome visitors seven days a week, admission free. They also contribute to the quality of what we offer, with programmes such as VanGo, which for the past twenty years has brought practicing regional artists into classrooms across the county to provide 6,000 schoolchildren with hands-on art experiences they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. We are deeply grateful for this generosity and commitment.

As a community member, if you are looking for intellectual stimulation, creative engagement or an opportunity to meet with like-minded people, come to an exhibition opening, attend an artist talk, enjoy a gallery tour, take an art class, volunteer with us or spend quality time with your children during our Family Sunday workshops. As a business, if you are looking for a venue to hold a lunch meeting, to host client receptions or staff holiday parties, to provide creative solutions for team-building, or to lease art, find unique gifts or professional framing services, the MacLaren is your place.

This season, make the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie your destination and discover all that we have to offer!

Warm regards,

Carolyn Bell Farrell
Executive Director