Art @ Your Library

mosaic at Mary J.L. BlackThe Thunder Bay Public Library aims to cultivate diversity and inclusion within the library. One of the ways this is being reflected in our spaces is through our art collections and programming. The library may not be the first place you would think of as a place to experience art but throughout all locations of the Thunder Bay Public Library, there is artwork by Canadian talent and opportunities for you to get creative as well!

New to the Brodie Community Hub is the painting Rise Above by local Indigenous youth Corrina Mckay, Bethany Koostachin, Regan Ferris, TJ Munroe, Adrian Polson and Megan Slipperjack. This piece was created during the five week Indigenous Youth Residency program with Quill Christie-Peters in the summer of 2018. Christie-Peters is an Anishinaabe artist and the creator of the Indigenous Youth Residency Program. Rise Above is a beautiful painting on two canvases. Previously on display with the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, this stunning work now hangs proudly in the Brodie Fireside Reading Room.

In the children’s area of Brodie, two new pieces by Kevin Belmore are now on display above the activity tables. The paintings are titled Learning and Learning from our Elders and they bring some new life to the children’s area. Belmore is a local Indigenous artist who paints in the Woodland style. These paintings brighten up the space and we are honoured to host them at TBPL.

At the Mary J. L. Black Community Hub there are three paintings by the famous artist Roy Thomas: Fish Duck, Night Owl, and Turtle’s Sun Shell on display in the Community Room. Thomas was raised in Longlac, ON and went on to become one of the most influential painters in the Woodland style.

Mary J. L. Black is also home to one of the largest pieces of art throughout our community’s libraries; a mosaic reproduction of Noval Morriseau’s painting The Indian That Became a Thunderbird. The mosaic was produced by local artist Ruby Owen in 1965 and can be found in the main entrance to the branch. The mosaic was originally installed at the Mary J. L. Black branch library on Brock St. W. and was later professionally cleaned, restored, and moved to the Edward Street S. location in 2011.

The library is more than a place to see art; there are many opportunities to create art of your own as well! Various arts and craft programs are held across all locations and for different age groups throughout the year. If you are looking to create art in a relaxing environment, consider going to the drop in Colour Me Calm events. This adult program is designed to let you get creative! The group will meet next on Feb. 20 at 7:00pm at the Waverley Community Hub. Visit our event calendar online for more information or email

Teens can enjoy various art-based workshops such as The Maker’s Path: Introduction to Woodlands Painting on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19 at Brodie. This two day workshop is for Indigenous youth between the ages of 12 and 18. Another workshop at Brodie on Feb. 25 will offer a teen paint night to celebrate Black History Month. Artist Michelle McKenzie Lander will be onsite to show participants the colours used in art from Africa and the Caribbean. Online registration is required and all materials will be provided for both of these programs.

Be sure to check our online calendar for more art workshops. The next time you find yourself in one of the library’s community hubs, be sure to take a look around – you never know what other art you may find!

Amy Ongaro – If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below!

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