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Our Stories

Artist’s studio takes shape in gallery dedicated to his work

The Niagara Falls Art Gallery has recreated the art studio of one of Canada’s most renowned artists – allowing visitors to see the space where William Kurelek painted, and which, ultimately, may have contributed to his death.

The small structure, only four feet by six feet, was built by Kurelek in the 1960s in the basement of his Toronto home, and was intended to serve as a bomb shelter for the nuclear war which Kurelek believed was imminent. His family donated the studio to the Niagara Falls Art Gallery in 2010, and it was moved to Niagara in pieces. A $3,250 grant from the Niagara Community Foundation helped to offset the $9,000 cost of re-assembling it for display, including interpretive signage.

Visitors can now see the windowless, airless room, where Kurelek toiled, inhaling the toxic paint fumes which are believed to have led to the liver cancer that claimed his life in 1977 at only 50 years of age.

The studio, which opened to the public in October 2015, “enhances visitor understanding of this unique artist” and has already attracted renewed visitor interest and attention.

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