Owens Art Gallery’s Lucy MacDonald receives the Purdy Crawford Staff Award

29 May 2019

Curator of Education and Community Outreach applauded for new initiatives fostering community connection

PCStaffAward2019_LucyMacDonaldSACKVILLE, NB — Lucy MacDonald from the Owens Art Gallery is the recipient of the 2019 Purdy Crawford Staff Award of Excellence at Mount Allison University. The award, announced at the Employee Recognition Event held on campus May 16, is presented annually to a University staff member who has gone beyond the call of duty and displayed exceptional service to their department and to the University community.

MacDonald has worked at the Owens Art Gallery since 2005, and during that time she has developed and implemented innovative education and outreach programs and activities for the university community and the Town of Sackville.

“Lucy is a patient and deeply positive person with a quiet sense of purpose and an ability to make people, both young and old, excited about art and ideas. She also has the knack for helping people see their own creative potential and the many exciting ways that art and everyday life intersect,” writes her nominator. “She acts as a mentor to student employees; interns and her passion is building the next generation of gallery and museum audiences… which will enable both the Owens and art at Mount Allison to flourish.”

As the Robert V. and Grace Barritt Curator of Education & Community Outreach, MacDonald has spearheaded many initiatives including the popular Make Something Sundays – a workshop program for local children and their families, a monthly program for the Daybreak Activity Centre – a peer support centre for adults with lived experience of mental illness, and MAKER MAKER – a series of artist-led workshops in which community members make pocket-sized art projects in two hours or less.

“It is an honour to receive this award,” says MacDonald. “It’s very exciting to be working in this role at the Owens and to see new possibilities for art and education in the community. The Owens is a wonderful team to be part of and there’s so much potential for collaboration, both on campus and within the Sackville community. I love being a part of that.”

A graduate of Mount Allison, MacDonald has a special interest in art and museum education. She holds Master’s degrees in Visual Communication and Museum Education and worked at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia prior to returning to campus as the first curator of education and community outreach. She also recently taught the course, Museums, Education, and Engagement at Mount Allison, part of the University’s new minor program in Museum and Curatorial Studies.

Over the past 14 years at the Owens, she has developed initiatives and programs that allow visitors to engage in open discussions, develop personal connections to art, and respond to exhibitions through their own art making or writing.

MacDonald is also dedicated to the principles of public access and has been actively working to improve accessibility on a number of fronts. Most recently, for example, she initiated a program of audio recordings in which students in her course described work from the Owens Art Gallery collection for blind or low-vision patrons.

Learn more about exhibitions and programs at the Owens Art Gallery: mta.ca/owens

Photo caption (L-R): Lucy MacDonald, Curator of Education and Community Outreach at the Owens Art Gallery is presented with the 2019 Purdy Crawford Staff Award of Excellence by University President and Vice-Chancellor Jean-Paul Boudreau at the annual Employee Recognition Reception held this spring.

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