B ‘ ’’ You never know how many future Alex Colvilles are going to come out of there by Laura Dillman Ripley — Barritt on the community and education outreach programs at the Owens Art Gallery Bob Barritt, right, and his son Bruce (’77) met up with Caroline Wong (’13), the 2013 Barritt-Marshall Award recipient, during a recent visit to campus ermuda resident Bob Barritt has enjoyed a successful career as a businessman, parliamentarian, and artist — a path he credits Mount Allison for inspiring. Barritt began his studies at the Mount Allison Academy in 1943 where he studied both Arts and commercial courses. A letter to his parents from Fine Arts professor Lawren P. Harris suggesting he take the full program led Barritt to continue his education, earning his Fine Arts degree in 1950. “Mount Allison changed my way of thinking. I was able to meet students from so many places; it made me want to see change in Bermuda,” he says. “That’s the main reason I went into politics. I also wanted to address Island issues, such as race relations and class differences, in my art.” Barritt served as a member of parliament in Bermuda for nine years, including as cabinet minister for community and cultural affairs. He is also considered one of Bermuda’s most accomplished artists, painting about many social issues not previously addressed in the Island art scene. Despite the miles, Barritt has remained in close contact with his alma mater, as part of the long-time connection between Mount Allison and the Island. He has a special bond with the Owens Art Gallery in particular. The Owens — Canada’s oldest university art gallery — has grown to be one of the country’s best small art museums with a community outreach and education program that sees art playing a major role on campus and in the wider community. That outreach was augmented with Barritt’s vision. The Owens Art Gallery’s education and community outreach program, funded in part by Barritt, was founded in 2005. Curated by Lucy MacDonald (’98) with Gemey Kelly, the gallery’s director/curator, the program welcomes visitors of all ages and backgrounds. It has firmly established the Owens as a teaching and learning museum as well as a valuable community resource. “I feel lucky to be able to provide some assistance to the gallery’s programs,” says Barritt, “You never know how many future Alex Colvilles are going to come out of there.” Kelly says Barritt’s gift has helped the gallery leverage its resources. “Through his funding we’ve been able to reach so many more people — through school visits, Family Sundays, and online initiatives such as Owens TV and social media sites,” she says. “We’ve also had faculty from many disciplines incorporate our collection and programs into their classes.” And Barritt’s reach extends well beyond the Arts at Mount Allison. Several years ago, with long-time friend and fellow Bermudian the late Ralph Marshall (’50), he funded the BarrittMarshall Award, presented annually to a graduating international student whose contributions to the internationalization of campus and the community have helped to promote crosscultural understanding and co-operation. Honours English student Caroline (Xiao Tong) Wong (’13) of Singapore collected this year’s award. “Ralph and I were at Mount Allison as international students, and we felt it was a nice connection when the award was established,” Barritt says, “I’m pleased that students like Caroline are able to be recognized for their community involvement when they are such a long way from home.” Young Sackville residents work on their drawing skills through the Owens Art Gallery’s community outreach program. / 17