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1949-2002, nd. (Creation)
- McArthur, Betty
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In Port Colborne she studied painting under the direction of Anthony J. Sisti, an artist and educator from Buffalo, New York. In the 1950s she would study art at the Doon School of Fine Art and was awarded the Director’s Scholarship, 1950 season.
In 1957 her family moved to Woodstock when her husband accepted a promotion to Office Manager for Canada Cement. Betty would become an art teacher at College Avenue Secondary School and Central Senior Public School. In addition, she was often a lecturer at the Woodstock Art Association and the Oxford County Art Association monthly meetings. Years later she would teach at Ingersoll District High School and the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre.
By 1961, Betty McArthur’s artistic skill was such that one of her works, ‘Abstract Still Life’, was exhibited with the Canadian Group of Painters (this Society was developed from the famous Group of Seven). Another, ‘Winter Scene’, was included in a travelling Royal Canadian Academy show.
In 1973, she opened the Betty McArthur Gallery on Riddell Street. Her Opening Exhibition showed 116 paintings and she would often exhibit not only her work, but occasionally those of others, including her daughter Jacquie Poole. In 1978, she sold the gallery to a family friend, Kevin Fallowfield, and he operated it for another three years. Betty continued to handle art supplies, did framing, and produced several books of her pen and ink sketches, such as those of historic buildings shown in ‘Fine Lines Around Woodstock’. While undertaking private commissions to paint portraits, she also produced many public commissions that were displayed at galleries around the world. She had several solo shows during her career including one in 1962 in the Upstairs Gallery in Toronto, one at the Woodstock Public Library in 1966 and another in 1990 at the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre.
Community minded, she helped paint sets for Woodstock Little Theatre and donated paintings to fund-raising events put on by organizations ranging from the Victorian Order of Nurses and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, to AIDS groups. In 1993, she was named “Oxford County Woman of Distinction”.
Betty McArthur passed away at the Woodstock General Hospital on March 1, 1994, in her 71st year, following a brain aneurysm. As a lasting tribute, Dr. G. Robert and Mrs. Catherine Corlett established the Betty McArthur Memorial Fund for a secondary-school graduate in Oxford County who plans on studying art at a recognized post-secondary institute.
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