Rickli sculpture unveiled at the Art Gallery - donated by Dan Lawrie.

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 1, 2015


It was supposed to be a big surprise – and for many it was. The unveiling of Showtime, a Walt Rickli, sculpture that Dan Lawrie purchased and then donated to the Art Gallery of Burlington along with a cheque for $100,000 was a wonderful surprise.

Showtime AGB - poor lighting


A grateful chair of the Art Gallery Foundation Anne Swarbrick announced that the court yard of the Gallery will forever after be known as the Dan Lawrie Family Courtyard.

Almost every name you could think of in the art community took part in the event.

The Showtime sculpture barely made it into the Gallery – Rickli brought in a small crane to lower the one tonne piece of polished stone onto its base which sits in a reflecting pool in the Courtyard. His challenge proved to be the doors of the Art Gallery – “there wasn’t enough room to slip a piece of silk in between the doors and the sculpture” he said.

Dan Lawrie put up a significant portion of the money needed to pay for the creation of the Spiral Stella.  It's coming along just fine and Dan is a happy camper.

Dan Lawrie donated the sculpture and $100,000 to the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Dan Lawrie was rightfully lauded by the audience, many recalled the tag line he used while building his insurance business – which is now ranked as one of the top five in North America. “The man who knows” was called out by many in the audience – proving that advertising does work.

We learned that Lawrie is an amateur artist in his own right and has a showing in the lobby of his building. He did point out that everyone wasn’t invited over after the unveiling to look at his art.

Lawrie has funded some sculpture at the Royal Botanical Gardens and was the man who put up a very significant sum to pay for the creation and installation of the Spiral Stella that stands beside the entrance to the Performing Arts Centre.

Showtime AGB with people

Gallery Foundation chair Anne Swarbrick, Mayor Rick Goldring, Gallery Executive Director Robert Steven, artist Walt Rickli and philanthropist Dan Lawrie stand before Showtime

Photographed in the evening with bright spot lights doesn’t do show time justice. The piece is large with all kinds of angles making it very complex. A child might say it looks like a fat guppy with all kinds of things sticking out – and that would be an acceptable description – until you have a chance to stand before the piece of art and try to fully understand its complexity.

This is not a trivial work – it is complex, nuanced and deserves more than one viewing. I expect there are people who will travel to Burlington to look at this piece of art.

Generations are going to be thankful that Dan Lawrie paid to have it placed where it is.

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