Muskoka Place Gallery Owner and Artist in Residence
Gayle Dempsey believes that arts and culture are very significant factors in quality of life and play a key role in defining who we are as individuals, communities and as a society. She is committed to reclaiming and promoting Muskoka’s rich culture and heritage both locally and globally with a view to facilitating international cultural exchanges.
Education and life-long learning have been important aspects of Gayle’s life. For three years, she was Trustee with the Muskoka Board of Education, and she has lent her management and administrative support and energy to many community groups through executive positions and as an enthusiastic volunteer. She currently facilitates very popular art classes in the local community cultural centre and in her new Muskoka Place Gallery which opened in June 2004.
She has served on provincial and federal arts, culture and heritage task forces and roundtables, and sits on the steering committee of the newly formed Muskoka Healthy Communities and the Arts Council of Muskoka . Gayle is Past President of the Port Carling Community Centre Board and headed up the building of a new community and performance centre. She is also a Founding Director of the new Bracebridge - Muskoka Lakes Rotary Club
During the last few years, Gayle has returned to one of her early interests, visual and performing arts. She has taken numerous workshops and courses in painting, drum making, mask making, drawing, pottery, and set design and decoration. She is currently involved in several ‘arts in community’ projects and arts enrichment programs in local schools.
Professionally, Gayle has owned and operated a successful company providing organizational management and consulting for profit and not-for-profit organizations for the past twenty-five years. Currently her main client is the Muskoka Lakes Music Festival for whom she serves CAO/Director of Festival Development and was one of the founders. Several years ago she and her partner Gary Froude founded Muskoka Cultural Impresarios, a company that not only brings first-class artists to Muskoka but is embarking on international cultural exchanges.
Gayle’s passion for arts, culture and community development is reflected in her work. In 2002 Gayle was nominated for the Community YWCA of Muskoka Women of Distinction Award in Arts and Culture and in 2004 in Entrepreneur, and last year received the Township of Muskoka Lakes’ Award for Dedication and Advance for Arts in Culture.
Gayle is a fourth generation Muskokan and feels a deep connection to the spirit of the land, the lakes, the natural beauty and the peace that is Muskoka. She is focusing more energy these days on the Gallery, water colour and acrylic painting, and writing, and is studying with and representing renowned painter Pat Fairhead. Examples of Gayle’s painting and writing can be found in a recently published work, “My Story Listens to Your Story: An Anthology of Women’s Leadership Images and Stories” through the Centre for Emerging Leadership in Minnesota. She continues to work on her own book, “Fruit of the Spirit”, while she is working on a new degree at Nipissing University’s Muskoka Campus in Studies in Culture and the Arts.