Motivated by the desire to teach fine arts as well as music, the Director/Founder of the Orford Arts Centre, Gilles Lefebvre, allies himself with a group of fine arts professors. He also works with Madeleine Arbour and together they present an exhibition devoted to Les Automatistes in which we find the works of Marcel Barbeau, Jean-Paul Riopelle, brothers Pierre and Claude Gauvreau, Paul-Émile Borduas and other members of the group. This event, intended primarily for students enrolled in the first musical camp, attracts many outside visitors.
Audiovisual courses are added to the programme, centring around music, literature and fine arts. The Orford Arts Centre is, from its beginning, open to interdisciplinarity. During this time, Laurette Boisvert, a great friend of Gilles Lefebvre, a founding member of the Orford Arts Centre, and a pioneer of the Jeunesses musicales du Canada, holds an important position in the heart of the Eastern Township’s artistic community vis-à-vis the circulation of modern art in the region.
In collaboration with UNESCO, the Centre’s first travelling exhibition, comprising the works of renowned artists Alexandre Calder, Henry Moore, Fernand Léger and Georges Braque, is organized.
Agnès Lefort presents the work of painters and engravers at her own gallery, among them: Edmund Alleyn, Albert Dumouchel and Jacques DeTonnancour.
During this decade the Orford Arts Centre acquires an enviable credibility and notoriety in Canada, as well as abroad, for the exceptional quality of its musical and fine arts teaching.
The Gilles-Lefebvre Concert Hall, the first concert hall conceived for recitals in Canada, is inaugurated. It is designed by architect Paul-Marie Côté. In addition to a 500-seat amphitheatre, the building comprises La Rotonde, an exhibition hall for visual arts. The lighting is designed by Jean-Paul Mousseau and the enamel work is that of Louis Perrier.
Gilles Lefebvre, who has always surrounded himself with the best collaborators, calls upon sculptor Yves Trudeau. Trudeau creates Vivace, a bronze sculpture representing three musicians in action, that he exhibits at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal and then offers to the Orford Arts Centre. Vivace has become, over the years, the official image of the institution.
During this same year, a garden of sculptures located in front of the Concert Hall is inaugurated. It is where one would find the works of young Quebecois sculptors of the era: Pierre-Roland Dinel, Armand Filion, Richard Lacroix, Robert Roussil, François Soucy and Françoise Sullivan.
The musical camp takes up residence on 222 acres of land located in Mount Orford Park. Guy Robert unites, this same year, 16 painters from l’École de Montréal and presents Prélude at the Musée d’Art Contemporain.
The J.A deSève Pavilion, a building comprised of a cafeteria, a bar, several multi-purpose rooms and administrative offices, is constructed for Canada’s centennial celebrations. An exhibition of some 30 photographs of Mia and Klaus is presented.
Gilles Lefebvre establishes a visual arts committee composed of Marcel Barbeau, sculptors Marcel Braitstein, Jean-Pierre Boivin and Hans, and painters Monique Voyer, Louis Jaque and Robert Wolfe. Together they organize an exhibition of some 20 works from Power Corporation of Canada’s collection, including the work of Jean-Paul Lemieux, Clarence Gagnon and Jean-Paul Riopelle. In the sculpture garden, the Centre introduces the work of Jean-Jacques Besner, Ivanhoe Fortier, Jacques Huet, Anne Kahane, Claude Lamarche, Lewis Pagé, Ethel Rosenfield, Yves Trudeau, Armand Vaillancourt, and many others.
The Centre also displays, for its fine arts study, the works of Mario Merola and Louis Jaque, and also calls upon Mariette Rousseau-Vermette for her large-scale tapestries as well as Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Côté for his bronze work. The engravings of Albert Dumouchel, René Derouin, Richard Lacroix, and many others, are also exhibited. The visual arts committee takes it upon itself to acquire many works by renowned artists. It is the birth of the permanent collection of the Orford Arts Centre.
L’Homme et la Musique Pavilion, erected for Expo 67, moves to the Orford Arts Centre site and is completely reconstructed. This new building holds the administration offices as well as two large exhibition halls. The Diptyque exhibition is also presented, in collaboration with the Conseil québécois de l’estampe.
An important collaboration with Huguette Trudeau (wife of Yves Trudeau) makes possible a remarkable exhibition entitled l’Histoire de la Gravure au Québec. In it we find antique etchings as well as Dumouchel and post-Dumouchel works.
Many exhibitions are presented: enamellist Micheline de Passilé-Sylvestre, photographer Arlette Vittecoq and traditional works by artists from Latvia.
In the midst of many successful exhibitions, the Orford Arts Centre inaugurates residencies for visual artists.
A gift from the Conseil de la sculpture du Québec permits the installation, along the pathways, of sculptures (stone, wood and metal) by professional artists whose work integrates the natural environment.
During the inauguration of the exhibition programme, which is open to all arts graduates from Quebec’s universities, the outdoor event entitled La jeune sculpture attracts a remarkable number of graduates from l’UQAM and l’UQTR.
The Centre presents the second Canadian Mosaic Symposium. Participating in this event are artists Paolo Ragni of Ravenna and his colleagues Ganzafar Bajram from Yugoslavia, Jean Lebel and Diane Tétreault from Quebec, Schuichi Amano from Japan, and his wife, Roseanne Amano from the United States. This event is realized by Gilles Desaulniers, architectural glass specialist, and Pierre Landry, sculptor.
The Centre presents Critérium 89, a collection of environmental sculptures regrouping artists Pierre Bayeur, John Francis, Yves Gendreau, Isabelle Grondin, Olaf Hanel, Gregory Keith, Gilles Larivière, Yvon Proulx, and David Sorensen.
The Centre becomes a thriving home for artists from the Eastern Townships. Painting and sculpture are always present, yet there is a notable interest accorded to mixed media, interdisciplinary events, and creations by young Quebecois artists.
The return of Yves Trudeau and Tatiana Démidoff-Séguin and their latest creations.
The Centre displays the sculptures of young university graduates from Bishop’s, l’UQTR and l’UQAM. Artists Nicole Girard and Monique Bourbonnais-Ferron, as well as Louise Perreault and Manuel Myoral, exhibit their ceramic and jewellery work consecutively.
In arts and crafts, Louis Perrier presents porcelain, bronze and jewellery work. In visual arts, Gilles Larivière displays his sculptures and Monique Voyer presents her mixed media work.
Mount Orford’s countryside offers an ideal environment to take in the in situ works of the Orford Arts Centre’s gardens. The summer of 1993 characterizes itself by its interdisciplinarity and its mixed media work: writing (Sylvie L. Bergeron), sculpture (Clôde Beaupré), painting (Madeleine Audette), mixed media (Marie Cuerrier Hébert, Monique Girard and Jacques Raby) and photography (Jacques Raby).
The National Bank of Canada’s collection proposes a magnificent series of drawings, paintings and sculptures. For this exhibit the Centre adds a collective of six artists from the region and displays paintings, mixed media, etchings and collography.
The Orford Arts Centre consecrates many of its sections to photography.
A panoply of artists is invited (the Curtin family, Cécile Gingras, Pauline Bressan), and many techniques are represented: theatre, puppetry and other mediums.
Le Musée du Québec offers an interactive exhibition exploring the notions of composition in a 3D architectural reproduction of a painting by Cornelius Kreighoff.
The Loto-Québec collection offers an exhibition of works representing Canada’s legacy. The Orford Arts Centre’s public has the chance to admire works by Tom Hopkins, Roland Giguère and Nelson Gagné. Artist Madeleine Audette presents a retrospective of her work complemented by unpublished poems by dramaturge Marcel Dubé.
The theme “Sound-Material-Light” inspires more than 100 Quebecois, Canadian, European and American artists who present exhibitions using various techniques: painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography and installation work.
Le Centre régional de service aux bibliothèques publiques de l’Estrie presents an exhibition where the book is the central figure. It is used as material, becomes an object of art, or inspires the creation of artists’ books. Bishop's University Artists' Centre presents a collective exhibition of its members.
The artist centre Créatio presents more than 50 works by artists working in various disciplines: Marie Cuerrier Hébert (painting), Grant Siméon (photography), Yong Jin Cui (multimedia), Monique Voyer (artefacts) as well as Normand Toupin (sculpture).
Art lovers will always remember 2001 and the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Orford Arts Centre. The Centre presents a retrospective of internationally renowned sculptors, including Yves Trudeau, Tatiana Démidoff-Séguin, Dinel and Marcel Braistein, as well as its permanent collection and two exhibitions of reproductions of Gustav Klimt’s drawings. The latter event is presented in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Austrian and Central European Studies and the Austrian Embassy.
Art lovers also have the chance to admire the creations of painter David Sorensen and sound installations by Bruit de fond. Musical instruments from around the world (Université de Montréal) and the pictorial works of Élaine Boily are also among the discoveries of this memorable season.
During the summer season, an exhibition by Guido Molinari structured around the theme “Rythme et Variations” and comprising a retrospective of recent works, demonstrates the constant evolution of Molinari’s artistic production and the legacy of his work in Quebec. The Centre equally offers an exhibition of works by Montreal artist Marie Lacoursière, a pianist by trade who transposes her musical experience into paintings.
It is around the theme “Vision Sonore” that the Orford Arts Centre presents three exhibitions from both rich and puzzling universes. Korean artist Hai Ja Bang offers a series of paintings. Mia and Klaus illustrate a trail of magnificent images of Canada with their photographic work on the theme “Le chant de l’eau." And BGL, a trio of new artists, presents their universe by way of an in situ installation entitled Petit spectacle.
MISSION OF THE ORFORD ARTS CENTRE
In 2001, the Orford Arts Centre celebrated its 50th anniversary. Its principal objective is the training of talented young musicians who are at the beginning a professional career. The training courses are offered during the months of June, July and August. The Orford Arts Centre has acquired an enviable reputation on an international scale as a presenter of great music. The Orford Festival, a prestigious cultural event, yearly draws music lovers to a natural and architectural environment of great beauty. It distinguishes itself by the quality of its musical performances as much as its visual arts exhibitions. The objective of the visual arts component is to make known, to a regional and national public, the work of Canadian artists; to offer a quality exhibition space to regional, national and international artists; to effect the development of new public; and to introduce the public to different visual arts practices.