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Lifetime Achievement: Ruth Tye McKenzie

Ruth Tye McKenzie with MC Lisa Laco, CBC Superior Morning Show,     .
Ruth Tye McKenzieRuth  Lisa Laco, CBC Superior Morning Show      #LSN_Arts

THUNDER BAY, ON  ---   February 22. 2017  “For the 7th Annual Arts and Heritage Awards, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery was honoured to nominate Ruth Tye McKenzie​ for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ruth has been a longtime supporter of the arts and has made a significant contribution to the cultural vibrancy of Thunder Bay as a practicing artist, respected businesswoman, and generous member of the greater Thunder Bay community.

Ruth was instrumental in establishing Artists North of Superior in 1983, has instigated numerous exhibitions, and organized Saturday drop in figure drawing classes for fifteen years at the University.  By establishing the Painted Turtle Art Shop, she helped grow the visual arts in our community, offering high quality artist materials, inspiration, as well as arts education. Ruth ran the art shop for two decades before retiring in 2003, when she passed along her commitment to serve the artistic community to current shop owners Angela Jensen and Lorraine Cull.

An accomplished painter and printmaker, Ruth Tye McKenzie has been a professional artist for fifty years. She has participated in more than eighty exhibitions – including nine solo exhibitions with the most recent being Renewal: a Retrospective in 2003 at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.  Ruth is represented in many collections across Canada including the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, City of Thunder Bay, Government of Ontario Art Collection, and Banff School of Fine Arts. The Banff School of Fine Arts purchased her watercolour St. George's in the Pines at the young age of eighteen and awarded her a scholarship at the age of sixteen which provided an opportunity to study with A.Y. Jackson and Murray MacDonald. In a video interview with the Gallery’s Public Programming Coordinator, Ruth speaks about her work in the Thunder Bay Art Gallery's Permanent Collection (”


Winners for each of the Thunder Bay Arts & Heritage Awards are listed below by category.






Honest Heart Collective



Ron Harpelle

Visual Arts

City of Thunder Bay Public Art Committee

Julie Crosgrove

Stage Performance

Magnus Theatre

Colin Stewart


CBC Thunder Bay

Heather Leighton Dickson



Paul Morralee

Cultural Organization

They Media

Neechee Studio

Cultural Venue of the Year

Copperfin Credit Union

Red Lion Smokehouse

Cultural Event of the Year

City of Thunder Bay Events Advisory Committee

Urban Infill

Cultural Professional of the Year

Copperfin Credit Union

Jason Wellwood

Cultural Volunteer of the Year

Copperfin Credit Union

Donna Patterson

Lifetime Achievement

Weilers Law

Ruth Tye McKenzie

Achievement – Built Heritage

City of Thunder Bay Heritage Advisory Committee

Urban Abbey

Achievement – Youth

CBC Thunder Bay

Riley Yesno


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