… the earliest projects of the foundation were group exhibitions aimed at introducing Canadian artists to larger audiences.
In 1987, Sheila Mackay formalized her patronage of the arts by creating a charitable foundation. Three of the earliest projects of the foundation were group exhibitions aimed at introducing Canadian artists to larger audiences. After initiating Strathbutler as a New Brunswick excellence award for visual arts, Sheila Mackay began sharpening the focus of her patronage and concentrated her philanthropy on New Brunswick artists. Two major travelling exhibitions, Five New Brunswick Artists and Caught in the Presence of Dreams were major investments in raising the profile of Strathbutler artists. A retrospective exhibition Regard was mounted by the New Brunswick Museum to mark the 20th anniversary a prestigious New Brunswick award.
The Sheila Hugh McKay Foundation and The New Brunswick Museum celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the prestigious Strathbutler with an exhibition entitled “Regard … Strathbutler 20 years/ans.” Featured works from NBM’s permanent Strathbutler Collection represented each of the twenty artists who have won this prestigious visual arts award. 6 October 2010 – 2 January 2011
2001 Travel Grant Masterworks Bermudian Collection “From Bermuda Palms to Northern Pines”
Including the works of Jack Bush, Frank Allison, John Lyman, this exhibition travelled from Bermuda to Boston, Massachusetts and Sackville, Nova. Scotia.
As a celebration of the work of Strathbutler Winners 1996- 2000, The Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation mounted a group exhibition Caught in the Presence of Dreams. Continuing to build on the work of Sandra Flood, Tom Smart curated this exhibit of work by Marie Hélèn Allain, (sculpture)Rick Burns,( sculpture and installation)Suzanne Hill,(painting) Freeman Patterson(photography) and Roméo Savoie(painting). The guiding principle for this exhibition is that all artists have great power to affect us with their visions, inspirations and reactions to life. In Tom Smart’s words “. Those who stand in the presence of this work are caught, captivated by the artists who lead them to a deeper contemplation of life”
In 1996, the Foundation presented a travelling exhibition of work created by the first five recipients of the Strathbutler Award. Curated by Sandra Flood it was an innovative exhibition because it celebrated both art and craft. The artists represented were: John Hooper(1991); Tom Smith(1992);, Peter Powning(1993); Kathy Hooper (1994); and Nel Oudemans(1995);.
Travelling from the New Brunswick Museum, the work was exhibited in Wolfville Nova Scotia; Waterloo, Ontario; Washington, DC; Vancouver, British Columbia; Medicine Hat, Alberta; St. John’s Newfoundland; King’s Landing, New Brunswick; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Moncton, New Brunswick and London, England.
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