A Stratford Legacy: Paul Bennett

A Stratford Legacy: Paul Bennett

Unveiling a Major Gift of Works

Ken Nutt, Persepolis III (1995), acrylic on paper on panel.

Exhibition: To February 2, 2014

Gallery Stratford unveils a wonderful gift to the collection by former long-time Stratford resident and arts promoter, Paul Bennett.

This special exhibition highlights works by Stratford artists Ken Nutt, who is an award-winning Canadian illustrator, and Gerard Brender à Brandis, a widely recognized and accomplished engraver.

Paul Bennett began his professional career as a high school art teacher in Toronto before joining the Art Institute of Ontario as an education officer, bringing artwork to remote communities throughout the province. This unique outreach program allowed people with no access to an art gallery to view important works by Canadian artists and on many occasions, Bennett recalls travelling with blanket-wrapped paintings by the Group of Seven in his back seat.

 During his ten years with the Art Institute of Ontario (now the Ontario Association of Art Galleries), Bennett helped the association grow from representing 13 galleries to representing more than 135 galleries.

In 1978 he brought his expertise and enthusiasm to Gallery Stratford where he was the Artistic Director until 1984. During that time he established the Art Pack program which still runs at the Gallery today. Throughout his career in Stratford, Bennett was a passionate arts advocate and formidable collector of art.

Although Bennett now resides in Cobourg Ontario with his family, his Stratford legacy lives on through this remarkable gift of works to the Gallery Stratford permanent collection.

Image Left: Gerard Brender à Brandis, wood engraving (1974), from Selected Poems: Mingling Uneasy by Margaret Lang (Brandstead Press, Carlisle, ON).