The Walrus National Gallery Debate

“The Group of Seven: Living legacy or just history? ”

“The Group of Seven: Living legacy or just history? ”


  • Author Ross King
  • McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s Tom Smart

Shelagh Rogers, veteran broadcast journalist, will moderate this lively debate, and will be joined by hosts Shelley Ambrose, executive director of the Walrus Foundation and co-publisher of The Walrus, John Macfarlane, editor and co-publisher of The Walrus, and Marc Mayer, director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada.

Ross King is the author of three books on Italian history and art: Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture; Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling; and Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power. He has also published two novels as well as The Judgment of Paris, a study of French Impressionism. He has been nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the National Award for Arts Writing, twice for the Charles Taylor Prize, and he has won both a Governor General’s award in Canada and the Book Sense Non-Fiction Book of the Year in the United States. His most recent work, Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven, was a Globe 100 book and accompanied a show that he guest-curated at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. He currently lives in England, near Oxford.

Tom Smart was most recently the executive director and CEO of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. He has worked in institutions across Canada, among them the Winnipeg Art Gallery where he was its acting director and chief curator; the Beaverbrook Art Gallery where he was its curator; and at the Samuel E. Weir Collection where he served both as curator and manager. He was also director of collections and exhibitions at The Frick Art & Historical Center in Pittsburgh. He has also served on a number of advisory panels, committees, foundations, and among them the Canadian Heritage Information Network’s Software Evaluation Project, and the Jacobine Jones Foundation. He has researched and authored several award-winning books dealing with Canadian art and artists including Alex Colville, Tom Forrestall, Mary Pratt, and others.

Shelagh Rogers is a veteran broadcast journalist. She has hosted programs with CBC Radio, including This Morning and Sounds Like Canada. In 2000, she won the John Drainie Award, Canada’s highest broadcasting honour, and she is also and CAMH Transforming Lives Award recipient. Last year in Edmonton, she was honoured for her work in reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada, and she is the Honourary Chair of the Peter Gzowski invitational Golf Tournaments for Literacy. Shelagh is the first ever ambassador-at-large for the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough. In January, Shelagh was awarded Canada’s highest civilian honour: Officer of the Order of Canada. She studied Art History centuries ago at Queen’s University and has had an abiding passion for it ever since.

The Walrus Foundation

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