It is with great expectation that we welcome a new year at Rodman Hall Art Centre. Over the next twelve months, our exhibitions celebrate the vibrant arts community that has been fostered in the Niagara Region during the fifty-five years that this public art gallery has been in operation. Upcoming exhibitions focus on artistic practices intricately linked with our location. Kelly Wallace, whose solo exhibition of new drawings opens on January 29, was raised in St. Catharines and now resides in London, Ontario. Wallace often cites Rodman Hall as an important influence in his development as an artist. Carolyn Wren, whose new exhibition opens concurrently with Wallace, is a prominent artist and educator who has lived in this city all her life. Wren has been a longtime supporter of Rodman Hall and is testament to the fact that a public art gallery helps a city to retain creative citizens. Maggie Groat, launching her exhibition and community-engaged residency this month, is part of a new generation of artists that have chosen to make St. Catharines a working base. Later this year and in early 2016, exhibitions will document the practices of Brock faculty members Donna Szöke, Amy Friend, and Shawn Serfas, further showcasing the calibre of practicing artists residing in our community.
This focus on local talent in our exciting exhibition program will coincide with the opening of the new Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines in 2015. It seems most appropriate for Niagara’s centre for contemporary art to document the individuals that are building a strong profile for the visual arts. Rodman Hall Art Centre is a cornerstone in the new cultural corridor that will link with a growing cluster of vibrant cultural institutions such as the MIWSFPA, Niagara Artists Centre, and the new St. Catharines Performing Arts Centre in the downtown core. This promises to be an important year in the history of our creative city.