The Collection of Winifred Shantz

October 28, 2012 to March 17, 2013

The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery is proud to present 39 ceramic, glass and enamel works from the Estate of Winifred Shantz which was recently donated to our Permanent Collection. The works are by highly recognized national and international artists such as John Chalke, Dale Chihuly, Susan Collett, Dan Crichton, Laura Donefer, Joe Fafard, Irene Frolic, Robert Held, Carlo Moretti, Alan Perkins, Bernard Séguin Poirier, Ann Roberts, Fay Rooke, Jack Sures and Valeri Timofeev. Winifred Shantz willed that the Gallery be allowed to choose any silica-based works for our Permanent Collection. These works were chosen for their ability to better represent the history and scope of regional, national and international ceramic, glass and enamel works while celebrating the legacy of a highly visionary and generous arts patron.

Winifred Shantz (née Fitch) was born in London, England in 1923. She and Canadian Major Don McLaren fell in love during World War II. After the war, Shantz emigrated to Canada and married him in Kitchener. Herself was a potter, she became a vital part of the arts community in the Kitchener/Waterloo area. While her husband worked as recreation director for the YMCA, Shantz continued her secretarial work for insurance companies in town. After work, she would fire up the kiln, throw pottery, and create teapots, creamers and sugar bowls. She never took herself seriously as an artist, but she insisted that the work be taken seriously as an art form. Don McLaren retired as Director of Recreation for the City of Kitchener and passed away in 1972. The following year she married Keith Shantz, the successful Kitchener industrialist, owner of Morval-Durofoam Ltd., manufacturer of polystyrene picnic coolers.

Winifred Shantz’ support for ceramic and glass artists culminated in the establishment of the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, a national gallery of which she and her second husband were founding supporters. In 1990, she became a partner with Aggie Beynon in the ownership of Harbinger Gallery, showcasing contemporary Canadian visual artists, sculptors, jewelery, and ceramics. For more than 40 years her wide-ranging patronage of the arts included support for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Stratford Festival, the Grand River Baroque Festival, the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Brush with Art and many others. Her support and caring for young artists was exemplified by the Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics through the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery. The first ward went to Susan Collett who later commented that, “she was instrumental in building my confidence as a young artist.” Shantz also funded the Keith and Winifred Shantz Summer Internships that granted opportunities for University of Waterloo Fine Arts students to work with established artists. She also supported students from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in internships abroad. In the Kitchener-Waterloo community, she was supporter of many community causes including both hospitals. In 2002, Winifred Shantz was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Awards

Christian Bernard Singer, Curator

Click here to learn more about Winifred Shantz