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New interim curator at Gallery Stratford

A familiar face is back at Gallery Stratford.

Robert Windrum returns as director/curator, a post he held from 1998 to 2006. This time, Windrum has accepted the position on an interim basis for one year and will help find a permanent director/curator for the local art gallery.

“It was an opportunity to reconnect with my first passion, which is art. Just looking at my third act and what I want to be doing. The opportunity seemed to present itself conveniently and it was well-timed for both the gallery and for myself.”

Windrum said the objective of his time is to build on the art gallery’s foundation, for someone to come in and be set-up for success and be the “dynamic, new vision for the gallery going forward”.

Windrum replaces interim Director/Curator Lina Jabra. Gallery Stratford’s board of directors offered “enormous thanks” for her contributions.

During the pandemic, Windrum moved back to Stratford, a community he has always loved. He worked in healthcare philanthropy in Toronto for a number of years.

“I have always maintained a connection to it and was on the (gallery) board of directors for a couple of years during COVID and after things opened up. Always loved Stratford.”

Because of the both the city’s arts reputation and the fact that curatorial positions are few and far between, Windrum does not anticipate any trouble finding a suitable candidate.

The curator sets the artistic vision for the gallery and will work with others to accomplish that, he said.

“Stratford is an amazing place. Who wouldn’t want to live here and have the support of the community that exists here for the arts. And it would be a great opportunity as it was for me, for someone to make a name for themselves and do some really great programming.”

Windrum hopes to drum up financial support for the art gallery during his tenure, including asking for monthly donors, a program that helps the gallery thrive.

“It’s important for people to understand that the arts are still reeling from COVID. A lot of arts organizations that were operating close to the bone before the pandemic…are closing. While there was some strong financial support during the pandemic, that doesn’t exist anymore and the audiences are not there and a lot of the supporters and the donors are not there.”

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