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​​THE STEEL SPIRIT...

STORIES BEHIND
THE ART

An art collective comprised of past and current serving citizens
who have served their country and community.
The Steel Spirit galleries are a platform of recognition and
thanks for the work that they do.


 Photo Credits: Andre Beneteau & Bob Munroe

How it Started
When Barbara's husband went overseas for a year as a War Crimes Investigator, she knew she would be alone yet she also knew she did not want to feel sorry for herself. 

"I knew I would immensely miss him, but I could not worry about him everyday. I wanted to keep myself busy. I wanted to keep perspective." - Barbara

Shortly before her husband deployed, she read an article about Prince Harry's upcoming Invictus Games the following year in Toronto. Inspired by the Games idea, Barbara felt there may be additional ways to promote recognition of the Canadians that serve our country. With her love of art and personal family situation she started initially to find out if there would be any persons in the military interested in creating their own artwork (with or without an art background).

With her husband serving on both military and police international operations and her father a retired RCAF pilot, she was inspired to create a gallery that was about the many selfless stories of service by current serving Canadians and veterans. In her opinion there are not enough civilians who know about the sacrifices made on their behalf.

'The Steel Spirit' military art gallery did just that. In Sept & Oct of 2017 ten military artists had their artwork and bios on display at City Hall, Barrie, Ontario. 'The Steel Spirit' gallery reception provided a platform for the artists to give speeches on their service and  experiences. It also brought much needed attention to a few of the artists who struggled with PTSD. Barbara's husband returned after one year from overseas but unfortunately her father passed away just a few months before the gallery opened. Barbara's father's photos of him flying his T-33 fighter jet in the 1950's were also part of the 'The Steel Spirit' gallery.

"I wanted to show the strength of the spirits behind the art. Any vocation that may deal with life and death and improving the world deserves that recognition and respect. That is perspective" - Barbara

Due to the success of The Steel Spirit in 2017, the gallery returned in 2018 and more than doubled in gallery space and submissions. The 2018 gallery also expanded to include submissions from First Responders as well as Military (serving or retired). The bios make The Steel Spirit galleries unique...these galleries are about people and the art is that window for the community.  

Since 2017, The Steel Spirit has not only provided galleries, it has also; provided art donations to the nearby military base health clinic, it has promoted charities and it has also organized socials (i.e. for the artists, receptions for the community and even an Art Social at the local nursing home involving resident veterans doing artwork with current military personnel). The Steel Spirit will return to Barrie in 2019, as well as it's first gallery in Nova Scotia also in 2019. The Steel Spirit is building a movement to connect individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Their stories behind the art...is just the beginning.

Looking for Artists
  1. Looking for current serving military, civilian military or ex-military for artwork submissions. A life in the military is far different than many civilians may never know. Share your story.
    MILITARY
  2. Looking to expand galleries to include Paramedics, Police, Fire and Dispatchers (serving or retired). First Responders are often exposed to the most serious of calls. To be first on the call or on scene of someone elses worst day, compels responders to always think beyond themselves. They deserve a spotlight on their ongoing commitment and strength.
    FIRST RESPONDERS
  3. Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and many other healthcare providers build the pillars of strength that surround individuals who are unwell. With such ongoing compassion and dedication, patients and their families are forever grateful.
    HEALTHCARE
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