Sheila Lavack Retires
Sheila Lavack doesn’t try to pick out one particular artist or work that stands out above the others.
“There have just been too many,” the gallery assistant at the WKP Kennedy Gallery says. “They are all so different.”
Lavack is stepping down from her position after better than 25 years there, first with the Capitol Centre.
“It’s been a fascinating place to work,” she says, admitting she is approaching retirement “rather reluctantly.
“It just seemed the right time,” she says.
The art gallery is a place of “constant change,” which has kept her work there fresh.
“Every time there’s a new exhibit, there’s a new atmosphere in the gallery. It feels different. There have been so many good ones. Every time I say ‘that’s my favourite,’ a new one comes along.”
She was at the gallery when noted Canadian artist Alex Colville was here for a display, as well as a display of Henry Moore sculptures.
She also remembers the Angele Project, dealing with Grey Owl, which was co-ordinated from the Kennedy Gallery and Temagami.
Lavack, 87, came to North Bay in 1971, and when she arrived, she says, there was little in the way of an arts scene.
“It was dead,” she says. “It’s grown so much since then. The Kennedy Gallery and the White Water Gallery have contributed so much to the city.”
WKP Kennedy Gallery director and curator Dermot Wilson admits it’s going to be strange coming to work without Lavack there.
“She is going to be missed,” he says. “The feeling of community with her here, her knowledge of North Bay’s past, it’s all the continuity, the connection with the area’s history that she brings.”
He says she is the “spirit” of the gallery and the Capitol Centre.
Lavack admits that when she decided to retire, she regretted the decision almost immediately. She does hope to have the chance to visit with her family now, particularly since she recently became a great-grandmother.
Previously Published by The North Bay Nugget, December 12, 2012
Written by PJ Wilson