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Celebrating Lawren Harris

This renowned artist from the Group of Seven is one of Brantford's own

Brant is home to many celebrated individuals. It is a place where talent is born.  We have been blessed with many important, famous, and special individuals who have reached national, international and world acclaim. Alexander Graham Bell, Dr. James Hillier and of course Wayne Gretzky, to name a few. There is another talented and renowned individual that needs to be known far and wide as one of Brantford’s own.

This individual is Lawren Harris, the founding member of the Group of Seven. Lawren Harris was the driving force behind the formation of this famous group of painters and pioneered a distinctly Canadian painting style. The creation of the Group of Seven helped shape, design, and drive landscape art and influence artists for generations. The artwork of Lawren Harris continues to be highly valued worldwide by artists and art-lovers alike. Last year, his painting entitled “Mountain Forms” was sold for $11.2 million, the most expensive painting ever sold in the history of Canada.

Lawren Harris was born to a great industrial family in Brantford on October 23 in 1855. He spent his formative years right herein Brantford on Brant Ave/Dufferin Ave. With that in mind, a group of us in Brantford have started a campaign to “remember, honour and celebrate” this great Canadian giant of the art world. We want to show our pride in another great Brantford native who stood tall on the world stage.

Our committee is called the Lawren Harris Movement. We aim to spread awareness of Lawren Harris in Brant and to tell the world that he’s one of our own. This group is a collection of inspired citizens and culture organization members from the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, Brant Historical Society, Paint-Club, Brant Theatre Workshops, the city of Brantford, and myself.

Last year, I arranged to have legislation introduced at Queen’s Park to commemorate Lawren Harris Day.  If and when this bill receives royal assent, October 23 will be recognized as Lawren Harris Day in Ontario. Lawren Harris’ works and contributions to Ontario will officially be commemorated annually on the day of his birth.

This year in October an entire week in Brantford will be dedicated to promoting and celebrating the great works of Lawren Harris and the arts in general. A week of activities leading up to Lawren Harris Day will showcase special exhibits at the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant and the installation of a new piece of public art next to the Branford Public library in downtown Brantford.

Our final goal is to erect a monument or statue of Lawren Harris in honour of this great Canadian. Stay tuned about ways to get involved and help make this happen!

Lawren Harris was a phenomenal artist who played a foundational role in creating Canadian art and culture. I am incredibly proud of his accomplishments, and I am excited that we together are recognizing his significant contributions. If you would like to support our movement, please contact the constituency office at 96 Nelson Street in Brantford, visit www.davelevac.on.mpp.ca or call 519-759-0361. You can also contact the Glenhyrst Art Gallery at (519) 756-5932 or partnerships@glenhyrst.ca.

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