Agnes Jamieson Gallery letdown

To the editor,

I was recently informed that Laurie Carmount was no longer working at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery and that there is debate over how the space will now be financed and managed. For 20 years, I forged a great relationship with Laurie and the gallery. I have had four exhibitions, given talks and workshops there. Due to the gallery’s connection with the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), I have been able to apply for Exhibition Assistance grants to assist with financing these and other shows.
I have been approached by several others with similar concerns to my own and informed that they would have an opportunity to speak to the Minden Hills council about this on April 28. Last week, I was told however that the council is only providing the group 15 minutes. How can they be expected to summarize these concerns in this ridiculously short period? It makes one feel certain that the council is completely uninterested in what they have to say about the gallery, it’s management and continued connection with the OAC.
Some say that the gallery was not connected to local arts enough. I dispute this. In 2020, I had an exhibition there about local mining in the late-19th century that I worked on with local landowners and historians. I took an enthusiastic group of locals on a hike to the old mining sites, the inspiration for the show. Last year, my partner was in an exhibition of 20 to 30 local artists. Laurie has worked with several local artists on plein air workshops. She was building a collection of Andre Lapine’s work, a good artist who did many works in Haliburton County. Laurie has had to show work from outside the county to continue to receive finances from the OAC but the funding received from them likely helped the municipality with the burden of financing the gallery.
Laurie Carmount was doing a great job and the gallery was functioning well. It was a proud institution, something special in this county. Too bad the Minden Hill’s council is unable to see this.

Gary Blundell
Highlands East