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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Thursday, August 11, 2022
RiverBrink names new board chair and directors
Queenston resident Linda  Fritz is the new chair of the board of the RiverBrink Art Museum. (File photo)
Queenston resident Linda Fritz is the new chair of the board of the RiverBrink Art Museum. (File photo)

Colin Brezicki

Special to The Lake Report

Linda Fritz, a Queenston writer, researcher and retired university librarian is the new chair of the board of RiverBrink Art Museum.

A presenter at the NOTL Museum’s “Famous and Infamous” program, Fritz also writes historic features for The Lake Report.

She has contributed to two books of local interest: “From the Mouth of the Lower Niagara River,” and” Making Her Mark: The Women of Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

Fritz has been associated with RiverBrink since joining the Weir Foundation board in 2009.

Her appointment to the board’s top position was among several changes announced by RiverBrink.

Vice-president Lezlie Harper is an active member of the African Canadian community in Niagara, with expertise in local history and the tourist industry.

She operates Niagara Bound Tours, a Black history tour company in Niagara. She hopes to generate more global interest in RiverBrink’s unique collection of Canadian art.

Secretary Rebecca Golding, who moved to Queenston in 2019, recently completed her PhD in art history at U of T and has worked with several botanical gardens in Canada and the U.S.

Treasurer Allan Magnacca, a retired businessman, has an extensive background in finance, having served on several local boards and charities.

Among several new board members are:

Marina Cutler, owner of Avenue Art Gallery (Canada), Cutler Crane Gallery (Memphis) and brings 25-plus years of discovering and launching emerging artists.  She is a member of the Association of Women Art Dealers. Cutler has curated cross-border exhibitions such as “911″ and “We Remember & Capture Canada,” featuring the work of 19th-century Canadian photographer William Notman. She is the host/producer of “The Brush Off Project a mini-doc series with PBS about the international painting competition, highlighting contemporary artists and raising money for art programs for people living with Alzheimer’s.

Prof. Gordon Reeve, who taught sculpture at the University of Manitoba School of Art for 37 years. He has created major site works in cities across Canada, including a recent major work installed at the entrance to the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden. He is also a prize-winning filmmaker, with internationally distributed documentaries on art, architecture and artists that were shot in Europe, the U.S. and South America.

Sandra Lawrence has worked as a fine art conservator since 1974 and spent 13 of them as head of conservation at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She has served on many art and historical organization boards in Niagara, lectured at Willowbank for six years, served on the Weir Foundation board for seven years and has been a founding director of RiverBrink since 2015. Other founding directors include Denis Greenall, a former programs officer with the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Clare Cameron represents the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake on the board. David Collins, who has a background in IT and business leadership, represents the Weir Foundation on the RiverBrink board and Jay Richardson, president of the Weir Foundation board, is an ex-officio director of RiverBrink.

Director/curator Debra Antoncic and her staff are eager to welcome visitors to the art Museum from Tuesday through Sunday this summer.

Antoncic has been with RiverBrink for 11 years and holds a PhD in art history from Queen’s University and previously worked as an independent curator.

Other RiverBrink staff include Asta McCann, programming and curatorial assistant, who has a master’s degree from York University, and Sara Morris, chief administrator.

Two students from Brock university have joined the RiverBrink staff this summer: Maddy Gordon is a visual arts student and Lindsay Chilcott is a recent graduate of the visual arts program. Both are working on various projects as well as conducting walking tours of historic Queenston.

The fine art museum, which overlooks the Niagara River in historic Queenston, was the home of Samuel Weir and it cares for and exhibits a collection of paintings, print and sculptures.

Weir left the collection and an endowment to support RiverBrink as a public art museum on his death in 1981.

Admission to RiverBrink is by donation. Visitors will enjoy access to exhibitions of contemporary art and the permanent collection (including works by Tom Thomson, Emily Carr and Paul Kane).

The reference library contains over 4,000 books on history, Canadiana and fine arts, along with 500 rare and limited-edition books and an extensive collection of sculptures by Marc Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté.

Lectures, workshops, films and other activities can be accessed on the museum’s website at www.riverbrink.org.