Release regarding past Director Mary MacDonald
Dear Eastern Edge membership.
I am writing to inform you of the sad news that former Eastern Edge Director Mary MacDonald died on July 18, 2017.
Her Sister Anna Kate Newman made the announcement with these beautiful words;
‘Dear friends of our beautiful Mary. Mary has been released. Yesterday morning her beautiful and wondrous soul was catapulted into the intergalactic, as a friend’s letter beautifully said. She is free from pain now and probably curating something larger for us all. She was surrounded and held by her family as she departed. Her 32 years were brief but boy were they BIG and BEAUTIFUL. What a story. Stay tuned for an awesome and joyous celebration of Mary that will be in St. John’s in September.’
Mary first came to St. John’s in 2008 to assist Michelle Bush at Eastern Edge. Engaged, enthusiastic and responsive Mary threw herself into the arts community and worked enthusiastically and effectively.
Understanding that she had the drive and potential to lead and help shape and promote our arts community, Mary went on to study in Toronto, gaining a Curatorial MFA specializing in rural art and community. She returned to St. John’s in 2012, this time as the Executive Director of Eastern Edge Gallery. Mary shaped the gallery with a heart that included everyone, reinforced the arts community and extended our reach far beyond. Eastern Edge is a community engaged gallery that many can call their own because of Mary’s dedication and influence.
Mary took her curatorial training and experience and pushed the gallery to be more responsive. She guided the programming to not only reflect work being created and presented, but to also be a platform for discussion and advancement, socially and artistically.
While at Eastern Edge Mary worked to gain recognition for Newfoundland art, making local artists part of the national conversation. She accomplished this not just through exhibitions, but by seeking connections, making correlations and introductions between artists, successfully campaigning for the Canada Council to visit the province and nominating NL artists for awards and opportunities.
Mary left Eastern Edge to spend less time on arts admin and to pursue her creativity and vision through curating and arts writing. Mary independently curated numerous shows that explored the contemporary Newfoundland identity, the true richness of this province and it’s creators. She wrote extensively about the art here with consideration, analysis and a conversational warmth whose egalitarian approach made the work accessible to all. Mary continued to serve the arts on various boards and committees, she was an advocate, leader and visionary.
Every time I went to an arts event Mary would be there. Mary’s support was relentless. She made things happen. Mary was the first person I went to for advice because, she treasured the legacy of knowledge she cultivated at Eastern Edge and within the arts community as a whole.
Mary’s contribution is immeasurable, I cannot do justice in this simple letter to a life lived in service to this arts community to the inspiration and enthusiasm she radiated. The depth of our gratitude can only be measured by the depth of our grief.
Our sincerest condolences and love go to her family, thank you for giving us Mary.
We love you Mary
On behalf of everyone at Eastern Edge Gallery
The Mary MacDonald Foundation has been established to commemorate our past Director, community leader, curator and dear friend. It will assist with independent Curatorial projects. You can find more information here.
There will be a Celebration of Mary’s life in Early September. We will keep you updated.