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Circle Arts, Tobermory

#4 of 8 in Museums in Bruce County
Art Gallery · Hidden Gem · Museum
About Circle Arts

Circle Arts celebrates 43 years in 2012. The Circle Arts story began in 1969 when Gale Jensen - a professor of Social Sciences at the University of Michigan - persuaded six students of the Ontario College of Art (OCA) to build an art gallery and studio on land he owned in Tobermory, Ontario.

The group stayed in the small town on the picturesque Bruce Peninsula for the summer, producing oil paintings, watercolours, wood block prints, sculptures, silk screens, textiles, jewelry and pottery. They returned to Toronto to finish their studies at the end of the summer, then moved to Tobermory permanently the following spring.

The Circle Arts story encompasses elements of its times and locales. It is the story of youthful enthusiasm and artistic maturity, local involvement and global markets, sound business sense and high creativity. More than anything else, it is the story of a commitment to Canadian art, and to those who produce and support it. The Owners ...

In January 2006, Glenda Burrell and Simon White joined Arlene Kennedy as the new owners of Circle Arts. Together they share a passion for the unique nature of the Bruce Penninsula and the artists that are also inspired by its diverse and dynamic character.

Glenda Burrell is a former drama teacher and arts department head. Arlene Kennedy was the Director of the McIntosh Gallery at The University of Western Ontario from 1989 to 2008.

Simon White is a web designer and a former theatre set designer and production manager.

Circle Arts at #14 Bay Street, Tobermory, has five distinctive gallery spaces. In the lower gallery, you will find glassware, woodwork, one of a kind jewellery, ceramics, textiles, prints and fabric art.

In four upper galleries you will find sculptural works, paintings, photographs, hand-pulled prints and one of a kind furniture creations. Using our international travel planner, Tobermory attractions like Circle Arts can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Circle Arts reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
20 reviews
  • The owner was very gracious bec/ he exchanged money for us, how nice was that!!! We were very grateful to him.  more »
  • Good selection of high quality art and crafts. Particularly love the ceramics by local potter Steve Irvine. Have bought gifts for family, friends and myself at this shop. Highly recommended.  more »
  • In search of viewing some Ontario arts and crafts, we stumbled on Circle Arts while visiting Observatory. This is one of the best galleries I've visited in Canada for quality and variety of arts and crafts, and for how the owner uses space. By all means be sure to visit the upstairs show rooms containing mostly fine art paintings. I asked permission to photography this artists amazing work. ~ Ray Rasmussen, Edmonton
  • Great art, fun to check out even for a quick visit

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