Director’s Welcome

Message from Carolyn

Quality of life is measured by opportunities for community members to participate in different kinds of activities, outdoor and indoor; and to access education, employment, healthcare and cultural resources such as libraries, art galleries and museums, theatres and other amenities.

As a public art gallery, the MacLaren strives to bring people to art and art to people in ways that are engaging, enriching and enjoyable. We are committed to building a creative future for our community, to enhancing people’s lives through participation in high quality cultural programmes and to ensuring that art embraces the very fabric of our everyday lives.

We know that access to the arts is essential to our quality of life, our social well-being, to cultural tourism and economic prosperity, and to civic pride and civic engagement. The arts strengthen communities. They also foster creativity and innovation. Evidence shows engagement with art actually increases our level of cortisol and our level of serotonin as does physical exercise, directly benefiting our psychological and physical well-being.

We also know that art has the capacity to transform ordinary experience into something that is extraordinary; it can elevate the commonplace and, in turn, transform our own understanding, opening us up to new insights and possibilities. As Picasso has said, “art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”.

Arts and culture are fundamental to self-definition, how we define and represent ourselves to the world. By communicating our shared and unique experiences, art can build bridges across boundaries, time and cultures, nurturing our capacity to understand, respect and interact with people from different races, cultures and backgrounds.

Most of all, art contributes to how we make sense of the world around us, how we find meaning through experience.

Our programmes at the MacLaren are made possible by the contributions of many individuals and local businesses in Barrie. These leaders in the cultural growth and development of our city share our vision of creating a place of beauty, of creativity, and of inclusivity. We are deeply grateful for their engagement. With their generous support, we will continue to offer our community creative experiences that inspire, enlighten and transform.

Warm regards,

Carolyn Bell Farrell

Executive Director