Gayle Dempsey

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 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 at Muskoka Place Gallery, which she opened in June 2004 and which has become home to ‘a learning community of painters’.  Gayle has also created artist residency programs and classes at The White Cottage Artists Retreat at Red Leaves, Minett. 

Over the past decade Gayle has been involved in a number of ‘arts in community’ projects and developed District-wide award-winning arts education programming which has recently been recognized by an international organization, ArtsSmarts. 

Gayle has served on provincial and federal arts, culture and heritage task forces and roundtables, and was one of the founders of Community YWCA of Muskoka, Muskoka Healthy Communities, the Arts Council of Muskoka and Creative Muskoka and is currently on the Board of the Ontario Health Communities Coalition (advocating for the significance of arts to health and healthy communities) and is past-chair of 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 cultural and performance centre.  She is also a Founding Director of the 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.  

Professionally, Gayle has owned and operated a successful company providing organizational management and consulting for profit and not-for-profit organizations for the past thirty years. Currently her main client is the Muskoka Lakes Music Festival for whom she serves as CAO/Director of Festival Development and was one of the founders. Several years ago she and her partner Gary Froude founded Muskoka Cultural Impresarios (MCI), a company that not only brings first-class artists to Muskoka but is embarking on international cultural exchanges.  MCI is a registered University of Waterloo Centre for Cultural Management Cultural Consultant and has been providing arts and culture programming to a number of clients including Red Leaves Muskoka, a large, new resort development in Minett, Ontario. 

Recently Gayle was one of nine arts administrators from across the province selected by the Cultural Careers Council of Ontario for a pilot project peer learning circle.  She was also selected to participate in Muskoka Futures’ first Innovators program.   

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 the Entrepreneur category and received the Township of Muskoka Lakes’ Award for Dedication and Advancement in Arts and Culture. In 2009 Gayle was the first recipient of the Muskoka Awards inaugural Arts Award for creativity, personal artistic achievements and support and leadership in Muskoka’s arts community.  

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 her Gallery, 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. 


Solo Exhibitions
Muskoka Place Gallery, solo exhibition - 2006
Catto Gallery, Muskoka Lakes Museum, Port Carling, 2006 

Group Exhibitions
Proof Studio Gallery, Toronto, Year of the Ox group print show – 2010
Arts and Letters Club, Toronto, Juried Show – 2010
Muskoka Place Gallery, Group Exhibition - 2010
Proof Studio Gallery, Toronto, Year of the Ox group print show – 2009
Arts and Letters Club, Toronto, Summer Show – 2008
Allison Potato Festival Art Exhibition - 2008
Muskoka Place Gallery, 2 women show - 2008
Muskoka Place Gallery, Spring Group Show – 2008, 2010
Muskoka Place Gallery, Group Exhibition – 2008, 2009,2010
Muskoka Place Gallery, 4 group exhibitions – 2007, 2008
Muskoka Lakes Spring Art Tour – 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Chapel Gallery, Bracebridge, Muskoka Arts and Crafts Spring Show – 1995-2010
Chapel Gallery, Bracebridge, Muskoka Arts and Crafts Members Show – 1995-2010
Orillia Museum of Art and History – group show, 2007
WKP Kennedy Art Gallery, North Bay – 2005 Group Show
Muskoka Place Gallery, Port Carling – 2005 Juried Group Show
Catto Gallery, Muskoka Lakes Museum, Port Carling, three-artists’ exhibition – 2005
Muskoka Tourism Information Centre, Gravenhurst – 2005
Muskoka Place Gallery, Port Carling – 2004 Three Group Shows
Silver Bridge Gallery, Port Carling – 2003 


Muskoka Awards – Arts Award, 2009
Award of Excellence in Acrylic Painting, Muskoka Arts and Crafts Spring Show, 2008 

Professional Development

2001 to present - studying with Pat Fairhead, M.A., M.Ed., R.C.A., C.S.P.W.C., O.S.A.
2009 – 2010 Canadian Art History – Nipissing University – Tim Rainey
2008 – Art History – Nipissing University – Cindy Long
2008 – Greg Hindle, Summer classes
2007/8 – Muskoka Futures Innovators Program
2007/8 Cultural Careers Council of Ontario Pilot Project Peer Learning Circle
2007/8 Advanced Painting –  Nipissing University - Ed Novak
2006/7 Studies in Culture and the Arts – Nipissing University – Robert Hemming
2005/6 Drawing I and II – Nipissing University - Janet Stahle Fraser
2004/5 Women and Art History, Nipissing University – Professor Michelle Roycroft
1993/4 Painting with Dr. Paul Kelly, Professor of Fine Art, Nipissing University
1994/5 Matrix Studio course with Dr. Paul Kelly, Professor of Fine Art, Nipissing University
1993-present - A number of classes and workshops with Audrey Jolly, Ed Novak, Linda Blix, Joan Holben, Jon Oelrich, Nancy Gray Ogle
1971/2 University of Waterloo Fine Arts  

Juried Tours/Exhibitions (by peers)

Arts and Letters Club, Toronto 2008, 2010
Muskoka Lakes Spring Arts Tour 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Orillia Museum of Art and History – group show, 2007
Big Art Thing summer arts tour 2005, 2006 


Arts and Letters Club of Toronto
Arts Council of Muskoka
Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour – associate member
Muskoka Arts and Crafts
Muskoka Healthy Communities Coalition
Society of Canadian Artists – associate member
University of Waterloo Cultural Management Cetnre Cultural Consultants
Visual Arts Ontario 

Published Articles, Stories, Books, Papers, Artwork

Art and Healing for MAC Newsletter 1998
Barriers to Democracy for Muskoka Magazine 1999
Muskoka Lakes Association Yearbook – painting 2000
The White Dress and 8 paintings in My Story Listens to Your Story – An Anthology of Women’s 
Images and Stories – Centre for Emerging Leadership – 2001
CD Cover (back cover) –  Muskoka Lakes Music Festival – Festival Favourites – Vol. 1
Websites – Centre for Emerging Leadership, Muskoka Arts and Crafts, Muskoka Place Gallery
Township of Muskoka Lakes Ratepayers Association – 2004 Arrow – painting
Township of Muskoka Lakes Ratepayers Association – 2005 Arrow – painting
Retreats Magazine –  July 2008 
Hildegard of Bingen – an historical perspective in a contemporary context framed in the domains of leadership, art, and community unpublished paper with painting 

Speaking Engagements/Interviews

National Post – July 2008
Mobilizing Community around Arts and Culture – Direction Ontario Tourism conference, Ottawa
St. Thomas Anglican Church, Bracebridge – guest speaker, Divine Dinner series
Women’s Resource Centre, Bracebridge – guest speaker, Daphne’s Drop In – Hildegard of Bingen – an historical perspective in a contemporary context framed in the domains of leadership, art, and community
Gravenhurst Manor Women’s Group – Hildegard of Bingen

Radio Interviews

December 2004 – Brain Brew Radio – PRI Public Radio International – Re: Anthology
August 2005 – Radio Body Talk – Health Network Radio – Arts and Healing heard on several radio stations across the United States with live web broadcast worldwide on

Gary Froude

Gary has spent 30 years in the entertainment industry as a manager, promoter and producer of live entertainment. His eclectic variety of indoor and outdoor productions throughout the world has entertained audiences of 500 to 250,000 throughout the world.

Moving to West Africa in 1986 Gary played an instrumental part in bringing World Music to North America managing several bands and tours to this continent.

Returning to Canada Gary spent the next five years as a designer of architectural landscapes for the motion picture industry achieving several on-screen credits.

Gary’s next move was to Costa Rica where he became immersed in the “Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Project” (a project that required the liaising with the heads of the nine governments in Central America to create an uninterrupted migratory green belt from Chiapas Mexico to Panama) for 4 years.

Gary has spent the last fifteen years living in Muskoka and with his partner Gayle Dempsey they own and operate Muskoka Cultural Impresarios (MCI) a business committed to supporting arts and culture in Muskoka and to preserving and promoting the region as a culture and heritage tourism destination. MCI is dedicated to supporting and developing cultural opportunities in Muskoka, including community arts initiatives and arts in education programming with community partnerships, working towards that goal MCI with their clients who include Muskoka Lakes Music Festival, Muskoka Place Gallery, Red Leaves Resort and JW Marriott Resort and Spa. MCI is a registered Cultural Consultant with the University of Waterloo Centre for Cultural Management.

As Managing Director of the Muskoka Lakes Music Festival Gary has worked with more than a dozen different boards to present musical entertainment and to grow the Festival’s award winning “Kaleidoscope Arts in Education” programming into an important part of the Muskoka cultural mosaic. The Festival is now partnered with two national arts education organizations, ArtsSmarts and Arts Network for Children and Youth to improve student engagement and cultivate 21st century creative learners.

Gary assisted in the building of the Port Carling Memorial Community Centre where as a board member he was involved in many aspects from hiring the architectural firm, chairing the fundraising committee, building community partnerships and developing programming for the new Centre.

He is a charter member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge Muskoka Lakes and is currently Co chair of this year’s Santa Clause Parade committee.

As the past Board chair for Muskoka Tourism and Marketing Association (a four year commitment) Gary guided the organization through Strategic Planning, Premier Ranked Tourism Destination Framework, Marketing Plans, Budgets, District Strategic Plan and many other initiatives to help the organization become fiscally responsible believing that a balance of responsible tourism, industry and housing are needed to create a sustainable community.

Gary is current Treasurer of Gateway Homes (an alternative home ownership model) and the ground is currently being prepared for an affordable housing project in Muskoka. Gary believes in building sustainable, inclusive communities.