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Iconic local artist supporting OMAH with Spring Back Auction

'We are beyond thrilled that Charles Pachter continues to support our museum,' says OMAH official, noting organizers have 'been pretty creative' for auction
Charles Pachter on the mic at a previous in person auction 2018
The Orillia Museum of Art & History is presenting a virtual Spring Back Auction with Charles Pachter, an iconic Canadian artist who now lives in Orillia. Pachter is shown on the mic at a previous in-person auction at the Pachterplex in 2018.

Well folks, this is it! Reopening day is finally here: Friday.

And I can guarantee you, every restaurant, gallery, and store owner is one million times more excited than you are, that this day is finally here. It has been such a long haul, but now we can celebrate and get out and support our local small businesses in every way we possibly can.

And what perfect timing, that the Streets Alive hippie vans and peace signs are out and up all over downtown. Of course, due to COVID-19, we couldn’t have the grand opening we would normally have, but Streets Alive Productions has been busy putting pics on social media.

I drove downtown yesterday, and boy does it look wonderful! So much colour, form, movement, and fun in every block. When you go downtown to support your local businesses, do take the time to do a walk around and appreciate these beautiful works of arts.

Thank you so much to all of the artists who poured their heart and soul into them, and of course to the sponsors and to Leslie Fournier who is the driving force.

This week’s big event is the aptly named Spring Back Auction, brought to you by the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH), and the inimitable Charles Pachter.

Bidding begins today (June 9) and concludes June 11 in the evening. There are all kinds of fun events as well as Pachter works of art and prints to bid on, and all the money raised go to support OMAH.

How did the event come about? Local and world-renowned artist Pachter, who lives in Orillia, talked about his relationship with OMAH.

“I have had an ongoing and happy connection with OMAH since I held my first solo show there in the summer of 2006, and a second one in the summer of 2013. I always enjoyed welcoming guests — collectors, cottagers, friends, family, government officials — to OMAH over the years. More recently I hosted two fundraising art auctions to benefit OMAH at my Orillia studio, MOFO, just a block away, in 2014 and 2018.”

Pachter added, “I have always been impressed with OMAH’s professionalism and dedication to the Orillia community. I have enjoyed our longstanding relationship, and am happy to be able to continue supporting them.”

Of course, COVID-19 made an in-person event an impossibility, so Pachter and the creative folks at OMAH put their heads together and came up with this entertaining combination of virtual events, food and drink, silent auction, live updates at MOFO, and lots more.

Ninette Gyorody, OMAH’s executive director, is thankful for Pachter's support.

“We are beyond thrilled that Charles Pachter continues to support our museum. Although we will miss gathering at MOFO and Pachterplex for the full effect of such an event like this auction of Charles' iconic paintings and framed prints, I think we've been pretty creative in our planning," said Gyorody, who thanked HGR Graham Partners LLP for supporting this event as lead sponsor.

So, what does OMAH have in store for you? Until 5 p.m. today, you can order dessert, or a signature cocktail, or both, from The Common Stove. You can also view how to make the dessert, through OMAH’s website or social media channels.

You can enjoy a pause and play how-to-paint-a-Pachter-painting art class, also through the OMAH website, and of course you can check out all the wonderful Pachter works available to be bid on, also through the website.

On June 11, starting at 7:30 p.m. you can join OMAH staff live at MOFO and see how the auction is going, as well as hopefully catch a glimpse of Pachter himself. Bidding will close at 9 p.m.

We know the pandemic has been so difficult for artists and arts organizations, both here and around the world. But, both Pachter and OMAH are feeling positive and looking forward to the future.

“This past year has enabled our museum to focus on inspiring creativity and celebrating history by ensuring there is a balanced representation of art and history in our programming," said Gyorody. "We have only seen opportunities to thrive in this new world, which includes enhancing our social media presence and developing virtual programming.”

Gyorody added, “We've faced adversity head-on and risen to the challenge. We look forward to re-opening our doors soon, with new exhibitions, enhanced programmes and supporting our community's health and well-being. We will work hard to ensure that our programmes are accessible, and that we are part of our community's healing as it emerges from this long period of isolation.”

Pachter has seen the pandemic change his way of working as well.

“The pandemic has been a challenge for all of us. For me it has been a strange blessing, since it has given me the opportunity to paint uninterrupted for a whole year. I love my Orillia studio compound: it is spacious, quiet, convenient. And I'm still going strong…thank goodness!”

For all the information about the Spring Back Art Auction and associated events, go to OMAH’s website here.

Don’t forget the Orillia Secondary School virtual spring concert, June 9 at 7 p.m. here.

Other notes? Sustainable Orillia has another themed call for artist out: Trees. Send your best tree-themed art, along with an artist’s statement and bio, to by the end of June to be entered. Winning art receives an honorarium and the work will be shared on all the SO channels.

Cloud Gallery has a new show, The Simcoe Summer Show, celebrating the natural beauty of Lake Simcoe and region, with works by Cloud Gallery artists Amanda Christina, Catherine Cadieux, Dave Beckett, Liz Schamehorn, Melody Lynn Madden, Miriam Slan and Sue A. Miller. This show can be in person, as of Friday, so come in to Cloud Gallery, located in Creative Nomad Studios, opposite the library.

Creative Nomad is also open, and planning some wonderful in-person events soon, so stay tuned.

All the galleries in the Peter Street Arts District will be open starting on Friday, and Hibernation Arts has a guest artist starting June 19, Mike Sallows, a painter hailing from Severn Bridge.

That’s all for now, and please, get downtown this weekend and support all of our wonderful stores, galleries, and restaurants.

If you have arts news, send to by Tuesday at noon to be included.