ArtShare helps campus deck the walls

How would you like to spruce up your office with the colourful artwork of Gerald Trottier or Bob Bozak? How about decorating your department’s common space with the artistic styles of Margot Ariss or Gilbert Moll?

What’s stopping you?

Thanks to McIntosh Gallery and their popular ArtShare Program, more than 600 pieces are currently hanging throughout the buildings on campus – a gallery roadshow, if you will.

“It’s a museum without walls,” says gallery executive director James Patten. “It creates awareness about the collection, but it also educates people about the collection at the same time. It increases our profile and helps us build relationships across campus.”

Started in 1991 by the late Dave Falls, the program has grown to show the importance of art in everyday surrounding, says Brian Lambert, McIntosh collections manager. He feels getting the artwork into personal spaces across campus not only has aesthetic benefits, but also reminds staff and faculty of the valuable role the gallery has at Western.

Working hard at labeling the hundreds of pieces currently on loan is a daunting task, but one Lambert feels is important to ensure the public is aware of not only where the painting is from, but also what the artwork is about.

“A lot of people just love it and can’t imagine being without it,” says Lambert, who will also assist individuals in looking for that perfect piece to accent their workspace. “Once we show them all the artwork they come away looking at things differently, so there’s also an educational aspect to it. While a few know what they’re looking for other people don’t. So it sparks a discussion. It’s exposing the world of art to them.”

Once a piece of artwork is chosen, there are other factors that come into play as to whether or not the piece will work in its location. Installation needs to take into consideration whether or not it’s a secure location, the heat of the building, amount of light and whether or not it’s a heavy traffic area.

“There are some things that are a little more delicate than others and if after we know they’ve been out there for a while we’ll take them back, because even fluorescent lights can hurt certain types of artwork,” says Lambert, who likes to see most work stay in its location for at least a year. “We have so many works out there and have needed to pull some of the valuable pieces back for insurance purposes, and for the scarcity of the work.”

Patten says the gallery has been extremely busy over the past number of months with all the construction and renovations across campus, but he’s thrilled to see staff and faculty excitement about the program.

“It’s very popular and successful as a program, so sometimes people may have to wait for particular pieces,” he says. “We go over and meet someone to discuss art and try to accommodate the client. Some are more engaged than others and want to get involved in the selection process.”

And with a collection of more than 3,500 pieces in the gallery’s permanent collection, odds are there is a work for every taste.


Getting Started With ArtShare

  • Go to to download the ArtShare Program application sheet;
  • Gallery staff will arrange for individuals or groups to select from available artworks located at the McIntosh Gallery Storage and Study Centre in Althouse College;
  • All requests for artwork from the permanent collection must be approved by the McIntosh Gallery and the faculty or departmental authority requesting the loan;
  • To help offset the cost of transportation, handling and installation a $25 fee per piece is charged;
  • A management fee of $60 per piece annually (or $5/month) is charged to help defray the costs of insurance, inventory, documentation and conservation. Where works are displayed in areas deemed to be publicly accessible, the $60 management fee will be waived;
  • Selected works will be delivered and installed by gallery staff;
  • Works of art on temporary loan within the university community may, on occasion, be withdrawn by the gallery staff for the purpose of conservation, photography or public exhibition. If the piece is removed for a period of 3-6 months, adjustments will be made to the management fee.