ZimArt’s Rice Lake Gallery – Kawarthas, Ontario

Badge of Awesome Communities invites you to share your favourite things to see and do in cool destinations around the world. We caught up with the folks from ZimArt’s Rice Lake Gallery — one of our featured attractions from the Peterborough & the Kawarthas, Ontario area — to learn about what they have to offer.

What makes ZimArt’s Rice Lake Gallery awesome?

ZimArt’s: This is not your typical gallery! Founded in 2000, this extraordinary homage to African art is best described as a museum set in the great outdoors. Several hundred hand-carved Zimbabwean stone sculptures are on display in the gorgeous Kawartha landscape.

Visitors are able to explore this unique Gallery at their own pace, meet with the visiting Zimbabwean artist, and learn about this internationally acclaimed art movement. Curator, Fran Fearnley, who travels to Zimbabwe to select the work, is available to talk to visitors and provide background information on this art movement and all the artists represented by ZimArt.

The Gallery is open daily from June 1 to Canadian Thanksgiving, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. Picnic facilities available. All the works are for sale.

Why kids love to visit!

ZimArt’s Rice Lake Gallery is the perfect place to introduce children to art. Imagine being able to meet the artist, touch the art (gently!) and explore the interaction between nature and the medium – stone – which comes from our natural world. How many galleries have live and stone frogs nestled side by side? Bring the kids and bring a picnic

Hands-on learning at its best

The Gallery hosts workshops through the season, led by the visiting Zimbabwean artist. The five-day workshops are for adults who are looking for an immersion experience. The two-day workshops provide a great introduction to beginners, 16 years or older. Also on offer are family workshops tailored to the ages of the children and the family’s goals. Participants work just as Zimbabwean sculptors do – outside, using hand tools and carving in Zimbabwean stone.

Annual exhibition kicks off (and closes) with a free concert

An annual exhibition and sale at the Rice Lake Gallery is a highlight of the season. It opens on the first Saturday in August and runs to the first Sunday in September. Both at the Opening and Closing visitors are entertained with an outdoor concert by the Zimbabwean band Nhapitapi. Dancing outside surrounded by sculptures has been described by visitors as “magical” and “an immersion art experience for all ages.”

Groups are welcome

ZimArt hosts school groups at the Gallery, tailoring the program offered to the teachers’ educational objectives. Visits can be as short at one hour or as long as the school day. They must be booked in advance. There is no charge for group visits although the Gallery does encourage a donation to ZimKids Community Support, a registered not-for-profit supporting projects in Zimbabwe.

African dance and…

The Gallery hosts a number of different events each year – ranging from African Dance workshops to plein air life drawing classes. Organizations and individuals are also welcome to book the Gallery for events they want to organize, from fundraisers to wedding photo shoots.

Visit the Gallery’s website to learn more!

Josh Martin
Josh Martin is the creative force behind Badge of Awesome. He lives in southwestern Ontario, Canada and is the author of "Misadventure Musings: Lessons learned from life's awesome and absurd moments" and "The Overcoming Obstacles Handbook."

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