By Jessica Lovell
The woman who has been with the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre since its very beginning is retiring this November. But long-time director and curator Judith Nasby promises she will remain an active part of the local arts community.
“I have no intention of spending all my time on the golf course,” says Nasby, who has been the art centre’s curator since it began 35 years ago.
“I’m going to have oodles of things to do,” she says. “I’m going to be even more active in the arts community.”
Nasby began her curatorial career in 1968 when she was hired by the University of Guelph at the age of 22. She was director of the university’s art gallery, which had a home in the library, and she moved with the collection when the Mac Stew opened.
She currently teaches two courses at U of G and intends to continue teaching in her retirement, she says.
This means she will no doubt still be spending some time in the gallery.
“The art gallery here is like a lab,” she says.
The educational and mentoring aspect of the job has been a point of pride for Nasby over the years.
“I’m particularly proud that many of my students have gone on into the art gallery field,” she said.
She is also proud to be able to say that the gallery has hosted close to 100 exhibitions by local and regional artists over the years.
Nasby plans to keep up her mentoring, too, with an office at Boarding House Arts on Dublin Street, where she will be part of a new artist mentoring program.
Giving up the management side of her work will also allow more time for other projects in the works, she says.
“I’m going to look forward to having more personal time to do my research and writing,” says Nasby.
Just before her retirement was announced, Nasby was honoured with the Ontario Association of Art Galleries Lifetime Achievement Award. She was nominated by her peers for the award in recognition of her 35 years spent developing, curating and overseeing the centre’s 8,000-piece collection.
“I’m very proud of what’s been achieved at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre,” says Nasby, refusing to take all the credit. “Many people have made it a huge success,” she says.
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By Jessica Lovell