A few members and guest artists of the Walters Falls Group of Artists gather to prepare the group’s brochure mailout for the 2018 Show. Back Row, L-R: Evelyne Richer, Terry Burns, Pat Robertson, Brahm Friedlander, Sue Stevens. Middle Row: Ron Ball and Jorgen Fleischer. Front Row: Jo Ann Sauks, Vince Bowen, Barb Hotson.

The Walter’s Falls Group of Artists has held annual exhibitions since 1998 in the Walter’s Falls Community Centre on the weekend following the Summerfolk Festival in August.

The original idea came from local retired brewmaster (and troublemaker) Al Saltonoski, who commented to his golf partner Fred Oakley, “Geez, the neighbourhood’s getting lousy with artists, Fred, why don’t you all hold a show and see if you can unload some of your junk?” So the word went out, fifteen enthusiastic replies came back, and the work began. The venerable Community Centre was rented, cleared out, the tobacco-stained walls were painted white, panels built, the artwork brought in and hung, and the artists all got to know each other in the process. Due to artistic differences Fred never did show his work with the group, though Al, who passed away in 2018, continued to help in many practical ways. The first show was a great success artistically and a local sensation socially. Today the show has become renowned as the premier artist-run event in the region, eagerly anticipated for the variety and quality of the artwork.

The mandate of the group is to promote greater appreciation of art in the community and to encourage the development of young artists. The group funds a scholarship at the Owen Sound high school and welcomes local guest artists to participate each year. Several successful guests have become permanent members.

The wide range of the work on display guarantees an interesting and inspiring experience. One can see paintings in oil, acrylic, watercolour, and gouache, pastels, and screen prints. There is beautiful and useful pottery, baskets woven in the age-old tradition, designer-quality stained glass, exquisite turned wooden bowls, intriguing sculpture and always something wonderful and unexpected.

This year the permanent members showing are Ron Ball, Vince Bowen, Jorgen Fleischer, Nick Furgiuele, Evelyn Richer, Pat Robertson, Jo Ann Sauks, Mark Thurman, Arlene Saunders, and Chris Saunders.