Community Recognition Award being presented to Michael Burtch today.

Noted Sault art leader honoured

Follow this link for more information about this award.

The Sault Star: Article by Dan Belrose

Michael Burtch the Community Recognition Award winner, stands beside one of the pieces of sculpture that graces his garden in Sault Ste. Marie.

A visual artist, whose sculptures of male athletes above the entrance of the John Rhodes Community Centre stirred controversy nearly 2 years ago, is being recognized for his contributions to community culture.

Michael Burtch, director of the Art Gallery of Algoma and President of the Ontario Associations of Art Galleries, will become the eighth recipient of the Cultural Advisory Board Community Recognition Award later today at the Civic Centre.

The award, to be made at city council's regularly scheduled meeting this afternoon, is recognition for activities considered to be particularly outstanding or innovative, or which demonstrate a long-term commitment to culture.

"Michael Burtch is an individual whose creative contributions to visual arts and support of activities have significantly enhanced our community," states a release from the Cultural Advisory Board.

"Michael Burtch is one of those rare individuals who has been able to successfully interweave his professional career with community development and volunteerism."

As director of the Art Gallery of Algoma, states the release, he's responsible for the development of an art collection of national significance.

As an artist, his sculpture Wind Chimes won the Ontario Association of Architects Allied Arts Award while Compassion, a sculpture dedicated to the spirit of St. Marguerite d'Youville, won a General Hospital competition.

Corpos Mobilis was commissioned for the exterior walls of the John Rhodes Centre while Burtch was a finalist for a loggers Memorial in Blind River.



A graduate of Queen's university, who was nominated for civic recognition by the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie and District. Burtch has taught at Canadore College, Algoma university College and Sir Sandford Fleming College.

He's a board member with the Sault College Summer School of Arts, as adviser to the fall Festival of the Arts, and has worked hard to establish a fine arts program at Algoma University.

As art historian, who has published numerous catalogues and articles, as well as a curator of exhibitions of national significance, he has spent countless hours assisting young artists in preparing submissions for advanced education, the award release says.

"The prime benefits to the culture of this community from Mr. Burtch's extensive knowledge of the visual arts and through his involvement have been, increased knowledge of local art history, increased awareness of our artistic heritage, and an increased appreciation of arts in the community," states the Advisory Council.

Burtch will be presented with with a replica of Stone Cradle, a creation of artist Tim Bartholomew,s, a representation of our identity as well as the diversity of our community culture, at the fifth annual recognitions ceremony.

Previous winners have included:

  • Harry Houston, who devoted more than 30 years to community theater, and Jim Franz, who provided a lifetime of support to local heritage and history.

  • James Short, who devoted more than 45 years to all aspects of local theatre, and Trixie Hardy, who dedicated more than 50 years to dance in the community.

  • Ed Gartshore and his wife Katherine Gartshore, who spent more than 60 years promoting and teaching music, as well as Carol Gartshore, a longtime arts and culture advocate, as well as a volunteer, who worked with every theatre group in the city.



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