Join & Support

Donate to AWE

Every donation makes a difference to AWE as we work to serve the Windsor-Essex region through high-quality exhibitions and educational programming. There are many ways to donate, and receipts are issued as per the Gallery’s Donations and Gift Planning Policy (2018).

Please contact Melissa Parker, Manager, Development and Marketing, to discuss any donations to Art Windsor-Essex.

Monetary Donations

Donations large and small are greatly appreciated. 

Annual Appeal

You may also wish to donate to AWE as part of the Gallery’s Annual Appeal, one of our fundraising pillars led by AWE's Board Chair. Lead donors and supporters are key to the success of this appeal, and donations are gratefully accepted any time of the year. 

Donating Art

The AWE Collection has been formed thanks to the generosity of its donors. Please see the Collection page to learn more about donating art to AWE.

Legacy Planning

Leaving a legacy is another way to support AWE. If you would like to plan a long-term gift, you have many options. Below, we share with you the story of the late Dr. Lois Smedick, who named AWE (formerly known as the Art Gallery of Windsor, or AGW) as a beneficiary in her life insurance policy. With this gift, AWE was able to establish a Contemporary Art Acquisitions Fund Endowment in her memory. This will enable us to develop the AWECollection in the years to come. Our first purchase from the fund was the plasma-cut steel sculpture Home Fires (2007) by Ottawa artist Anna Frlan. Below are remarks from Dr. Smedick’s memorial. You, too, can leave a legacy. 

Remembering Dr. Lois K. Smedick, Patron, Community Citizen and Feminist
A presentation made November 2, 2017 at the University of Windsor by Catharine M. Mastin

I am very honoured to have been asked to remember Dr. Lois K. Smedick today at this University where she served the breadth of her career and professional life as academic and administrator. In these few words I share with you, how I came to know her, my portrait of her, and most especially her legacy with the Art Gallery of Windsor, a charity she supported beginning in the 1970s. 

I first met Dr. Smedick when I was Curator of Canadian Art at the AGW where I worked from 1989-1995. Then, she was Chair of the Acquisitions Committee. From the start, she was always welcoming and supportive and I was moved by her generosity. After I relocated to Calgary in 1995 I lost touch with her but renewed our collegial relationship on my return to Windsor in 2010 where I have since served the AGW as the 6th Executive Director. These two terms have given me a portrait of Dr. Smedick which I share with you because I believe the qualities she stood for are all ones each of us can and perhaps should embrace.

Dr. Smedick was a kind and gentle professional and she was generous to the full capacity of her means. She was a diplomat, a stateswoman, a feminist, a friend, and a companion to her long-time friend and neighbour, Betty Wilkinson. She was a reader, a collector, an administrator, community leader, a Dean of Arts, a Gallery President, an AGW Foundation President, and a patron. She was a model of community citizenship.

On my return to Windsor in December 2010 I was charged with taking care of Dr. Smedick as a major gallery patron and stakeholder. She always found time for our meetings, she shared generously her experiences as a Board Member, and she believed in me as the Gallery’s leader. In her passing I have lost a person whom I regard as one of my mentors. I will cherish her approach to community citizenship whereby she concurrently supported many causes, and, always to the ceiling of her giving potential. She gave as few others I have known could give—of her time, her wisdom, her calming demeanour, her belief always in positive outcomes.

Dr. Smedick was by no means a wealthy person. She was a comfortable member of Canada’s middle class professional populous but she had no more and perhaps less than many of us in this room. Single all her life, she planned carefully in consideration of those causes she cared deeply about. One of those was The Art Gallery of Windsor. On completion of the Gallery’s home at 401 Riverside Drive, following over a year of her time as construction site supervisor, she pledged to support the AGW through her life insurance policy and in 2001 signed that policy to over the AGW Foundation. I made sure to visit her annually to ensure that I understood her intentions and maintained communications. These included updating her on the many changes that the Gallery needed to undergo in 2011-2012 in particular, when we were faced with the reality that we could no longer own the building she sacrificed so much to see to fruition. They included nuanced histories of the Gallery which were not all public but enabled my recommendations to be grounded in experience. Those changes were hard for Dr. Smedick as they were for me and for many in this community. Regardless, she always stood by mine and the Board of Directors’ decisions, generous in spirit, professional, as she always was. 

Dr. Smedick planned her gift carefully, contributing to it annually to benefit the AGW long-term. She left her policy gift unrestricted as the most open-minded of philanthropists would do. Despite this generosity of spirit, the right decision is to remember her through and from this gift, now and in perpetuity. She cared deeply about a lasting legacy, through collecting and through benefaction. Such a strategy is why she served on the Gallery’s Foundation Board, an entity now merged with the AGW, so to strengthen the Gallery’s larger financial position. With that spirit in mind, I am pleased to inform everyone that, on the recommendation of the Acquisitions Committee, the AGW Board has agreed to designate Lois’s exemplary gift to a cause she believed in—contemporary art, supporting artists and strengthening the AGW collection, a collection built in public trust for the people of Windsor-Essex and visitors to the region.

As of the AGW’s October 2017 Board meeting, we have named in Dr. Smedick’s memory a new contemporary art acquisitions fund which will stand parallel to the AGW’s other endowments. In the spirit of Dr. Smedick’s dedication to endowments, the capital in her fund is intended to be held in perpetuity and proceeds from the portfolio performance will be used to acquire contemporary art for the collection. For several years now, it has been a goal of the Acquisitions Committee to establish a contemporary art fund and we are so honoured that through such purchases we will be able to recognize and remember Dr. Smedick. At a time when many may mourn the loss of a great community supporter, this gesture offers a way forward to remember her by. For those who did not know her, her life was an example by which to consider a model of community citizenship. If I could have met with Lois to present this proposal, I believe she would have smiled and believed it suitable.

Thank you for coming today, and thank you to the University of Windsor for organizing this memorial. Finally, I want finally to thank Louise Chance Baxter& who was so dedicated to Dr. Smedick’s personal care in her last weeks. We are indebted to you Louise for your parallel generosity of spirit in lending yourself to your dear friend at a great time of need and life passage. I did not have a chance to say good bye to Lois but do remember so clearly our last conversation in the spring, during which time the future leadership of the University of Windsor came up. In the spirit of a true feminist, it was her wish that the next President be a woman. The suggestion would be a first time for this University, but that’s how Lois thought and lived as a feminist: she was a woman’s first in her own capacity as the first Dean of Arts. In this example, and in Louise’s care for her friend, Lois’ dedication to gender parity and women’s emotionally rich friendship circles continued to her final days and hours. Among so many other things, Dr. Smedick was an important feminist. Let us today add her to feminist histories of women in public and private life.