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I have been involved in the arts my entire adult life as an artist, curator, and gallery director and fully support the integral role of the arts in society. But I seriously question the hyperbole conferred upon the gallery's collection -"We have one of the most important art collections in Ontario if not Canada." - and its viability as the basis for a destination gallery.

A much more honest and pragmatic assessment is needed.

Compare the TOM's collection to the NAG (National Art Gallery), the AGO , the McMichael and numerous other Regional Galleries across the country. The TOM has nothing even close to these collections either in numbers or quality of works. The Tom Thomson works at the TOM consist mostly of studies, developmental and amateurish works, B grade works, with only a very few panel works that even hint at his abilities as a painter.

As for the TOM's collection as a whole, you must look past sheer numbers and assess the quality and significance of the works. While the collection as a whole does house works by artists of note and significance, the collection has many, many works of poor quality. Unless there are collectors/donors on the threshold of committing significant works to the collection, the TOM does not have the holdings for the basis of these flights of fancy.

While generally supportive of increased resources for the Arts, I believe the TOM and the regional community would be better served with enhanced contemporary programming and much more robust community and audience engagement activities.

Mike Yuhasz, Owen Sound



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