Meet the Steering Committee
The Stratford Studio Tour is managed by a steering committee and supported by the Stratford Tourism Alliance. Our goal is to feature exciting and diverse artworks that highlights the talents of established artists as well as newly discovered rising stars.
The Steering Committee is a group of passionate, committed professionals that are dedicated to showcasing Stratford's creative, artistic talents.
Sara James is an artist and entrepreneur, dividing her life between Stratford and Piemonte, Italy. While building her art career she is currently involved in importing European building products and ideas for energy efficient homes. In the past she was involved in city and art magazines in the West, later working in interior and architectural home design, encircling her life with the world of art and design. She brings her business, editorial and marketing skills to the Studio Tour.
Kim McCarthy (B.F.A., B.Ed.) has been a professional visual artist and arts educator for over 30 years in the Greater Toronto Area. She now resides in Stratford, ON. Her art work has been published, represented in galleries and is in numerous private collections. She has a wealth of experience coordinating events related to the arts, literature and education.
Margarethe Vanderpas (BA Honours Art History, B.Ed.) is a professional artist who resides in Stratford, ON. Prior to becoming a full-time artist, she ran a Graphic Design Firm for 20 years and also taught Fine Art and Mathematics for 10 years.
Margarethe has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibits and her work can be found in private and corporate collections.
Mary Anne Dente, John Szustaczek and Tanya Szustaczek
Mary Anne, John and Tanya (L to R) make up our social media team. Mary Anne and Tanya are two of our featured tour artists; Mary-Anne is a painter and Tanya is a photographer. John is a Studio Tour volunteer who works in Sales and Marketing. They are experiencing the ins and outs of creating social media content and promoting our tour digitally.
I retired from the University of Victoria, BC in 2001 as the Director of Conference Management, Division of Continuing Studies, and ran my own business as a conference and event director for the following 10 years in Victoria and Vancouver.
I moved to Stratford in 2013 and serve on the Communities in Bloom Advisory Committee and the Sesquicentennial Ad-Hoc Committee. In addition, I have recently joined the Board of the SpringWorks Festival.
I am pleased to be part of the 2017 Studio Tour Committee as Treasurer, and look forward to an outstanding weekend.
The Creation of the
Stratford Studio Tour
It all began when three dynamic and entrepreneurial artists arrived in Stratford two years ago from different parts of Canada. Kim McCarthy, Margarethe Vanderpas and Sara James crossed paths through Art in the Park, and all three wondered “Where is the Studio Tour in Stratford?”. They agreed that a city that prides itself in being “Canada’s Premier Arts Town” needed a Studio Tour. Margarethe expressed it perfectly when she said it would be a marvellous opportunity for the public to “ take home a piece of art that reminds you of the full experience of meeting the artist, learning the processes involved in their craft and getting a glimpse into the space where the art is created.”
To that end, they pooled their talents to bring together a variety of fine artists and artisans. With the support of Cathy Rehburg of the Stratford Tourism Alliance, Mary O’Rourke an events organizer, and many business owners in Stratford, they worked tirelessly to make their vision of a Stratford Studio Tour a reality.
Kim McCarthy is not only an encaustic painter and arts educator, but also advertising director for Art in the Park. She has previously organized large arts and literature events in the GTA. When she moved to Stratford in 2014, she planned specific alterations to her new home for her studio loft. Her commitment to the arts and motivation to share with the community is always top of mind.
Margarethe Vanderpas, a dynamic oil painter, moved to Stratford from Lion’s Head area. Previously she had been part of the organizing committee for the London Studio Tour for the past 10 years. Owner of a design company, she volunteered her time and skills to design the Stratford Studio Tour Logo, website and all print materials.
Sara James, a world traveller and plein air oil painter, moved to Stratford from B.C. Sara had worked in the world of art publications and private business and brought a wealth of organization and advertising skills to the team.
Since November 2016, the team has spent countless hours to make their dream a reality. One inspiration came from meeting the renowned local printmaker, Gerard Bender a Brandis. Gerard had been on the committee for Stratford’s last studio tour, which he thinks was 25 years ago. All agreed that it was time for a rebirth! Cathy Rehburg at Stratford Tourism remained a strong ally and frequently provided meeting space and support to the team. By February 14th, 2017, 22 artists were informed that they were successful applicants for Stratford’s first annual studio tour. The 22 artists are masters of a diverse range of painting mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolour and encaustic and mixed media, as well as wood, glass, pottery, printmaking, jewellery, photography and textile art.
Sara and Kim found host studios for guest artists and artists from within Stratford who did not have a space to open to the public. Several artists on the tour, as well as The University of Waterloo, Stratford Studio Alliance, and Junction 56 Distillery generously provided hosting spaces. Many local businesses chose to advertise in the brochure and online with Stratford Studio Tour, and most businesses have showed their support by displaying our poster and brochures. They agreed that the Stratford Studio Tour gives people “from away” one more reason to visit Stratford!
All in all, this amazing opportunity for locals as well as people “from away” to enrich their lives with art, would never have come to fruition without the efforts of Kim McCarthy, Margarethe Vanderpas, and Sara James. We thank you!!