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Dr. Arlene Gehmacher
TORONTO, July 14, 2022 – ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) today announced the establishment of the L.R. Wilson Curatorship of Canadian Art & Culture. Made possible with the generous support of the Wilson Foundation and the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust, the creation of this endowed position builds on ROM’s deeply-rooted commitment to Canadian art and culture and the evolving story of Canada.
The incumbent curator is Dr. Arlene Gehmacher, an esteemed art historian who has held the role of Curator of Canadian Art & Culture since she joined ROM in July 2000.
The endowment of Gehmacher’s position will contribute to enhanced public engagement in this collections area through exhibitions, research, acquisitions, programming, and learning initiatives. In this role, Gehmacher is responsible for both building the profile of the collection and interpreting Canadian art and culture within the context of broader contemporary and historical themes that reflect the Canadian experience.
“The Wilson Curatorship will expand our ability to showcase the very best of Canada—and share the unfolding story of Canada with the world, as well as the rich Indigenous cultures and diasporic people who continue to shape our present and future,” says Josh Basseches, ROM’s Director & CEO. “We are grateful to Red and Brenda Wilson, the Wilson Foundation and the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust for making this position possible with their generous gift.”
The curatorship is named in honour of Lynton Ronald (Red) Wilson, a Canadian philanthropist and business executive who was born and raised in Port Colborne, Ontario, and spent time stationed in global locations as part of Canada’s foreign service. The Wilson Foundation supports charitable projects and initiatives that strengthen and enrich Canada in the areas of education leadership, community, history and heritage, and public service. Mr. Wilson has endowed several chairs and positions within various institutions across the country. A longstanding ROM volunteer and patron, he has supported major initiatives such as the Renaissance ROM Campaign and has been a champion of the Museum’s Canadian collections.
“We are delighted to support ROM in this way that celebrates Canada, both within our borders and with the world,” says Red Wilson, who is also a member of ROM’s Honorary Governors. “It is an investment that enables the Museum to even better share our country’s storied past, its evolving present and its glowing future of continued multiculturalism, liberal democracy, artistic and cultural achievements.”
Also central to ROM’s mission is a commitment to share the history, cultures and contributions of Indigenous Peoples. As part of that commitment, the Museum offers all visitors free access to the Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture and is undertaking a search to name a curator to the recently announced Hatch Curatorship of Indigenous Art & Culture. The Hatch Curatorship will be held by a person of Indigenous heritage and will play a critical role in presenting and amplifying the stories, art, and culture of Indigenous Peoples.
This L.R. Wilson Curatorship of Canadian Art & Culture is one of 35 curatorships at the ROM and one of seven endowed curatorships to receive matching funds by the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust. ROM and the ROM Governors thank Peter Sharpe of the Wilson Foundation and Gary Weddel and Lisa Saunders, Trustees of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust, for their ongoing support of the Museum.
Image Credit: © Royal Ontario Museum
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Opened in 1914, Royal Ontario Museum showcases art, culture and nature from around the world and across the ages. Among the top 10 cultural institutions in North America, Canada’s largest and most comprehensive museum is home to a world-class collection of 13 million art objects and natural history specimens, featured in 40 gallery and exhibition spaces. As the country’s preeminent field research institute and an international leader in new and original findings, ROM plays a vital role in advancing our understanding of the artistic, cultural and natural world. Combining its original heritage architecture with the contemporary Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, ROM serves as a national landmark, and a dynamic cultural destination in the heart of Toronto for all to enjoy.
The endowment program at the ROM presents donors with an outstanding opportunity to permanently enable thought-provoking exhibitions, revolutionary research and engaging public programs by supporting the Museum’s curatorial expertise. To learn more about the opportunities and impacts in this program, kindly contact
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ROM acknowledges that this museum sits on the ancestral lands of the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Anishinaabek Nation, which includes the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, since time immemorial to today.
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