Meet the Staff

Tom Thomson Art Gallery 840 First Avenue West Owen Sound, Ontario N4K 4K4 Phone: (519) 376-1932 Fax: (519) 376-3037 E-mail:






Virginia Eichhorn
Director + Chief Curator
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Virginia Eichhorn has worked in the visual arts field for over twenty-five years and was appointed to the position of Director & Chief Curator of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in September 2009. She is a graduate of the Art History programme at Queen’s University and continued her studies in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Toronto.  As an independent curator she has presented exhibitions at numerous prestigious venues including the XII Biennale of Art at Villa Nova Cerveira in Portugal. She has worked extensively with artists from across Canada and abroad, including Carl Beam, Judy Chicago, Vessna Perunovich, Jane Ash Poitras and Peter Von Tiesenhausen, developing exhibitions for high profile Canadian galleries and museums. In addition to curating, she has written numerous catalogue essays and has contributed articles to prominent Canadian magazines including Artichoke, Canadian Art, Border Crossings, ESPACE Sculpture and international magazines such as Ceramics Monthly.  She is a member of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, the International Association of Art Museum Curators (IKT), the Canadian Art Museum Directors’ Organization (CAMDO) and the Association of Art Museum Curators and is President of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries and is a board member for Cahiers métiers d’art /Craft Journal.  Previous board tenures include the Association of Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts (ANDPVA) and Visual Arts Alliance (VAO).  In 2009 she won the Jean Johnson/Melanie Egan Award for Curatorial Excellence awarded by the Ontario Crafts Council.






Robert Alton
Exhibitions Coordinator
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Robert Alton was born in Markdale, attended High School in Flesherton and University in Toronto. In Toronto, Robert worked for a variety of organizations; The Art Gallery of York University, the Craft Studios at Harbourfront, the PowerPlant Contemporary Gallery, and the Playwrights Union of Canada. Since returning to Grey County, Robert has worked in a Bookstore Cafe, an Organic Bakery, and as a Skein Reeler. Employed by the Tom Thomson Art Gallery since 2002, Robert is now Exhibitions Coordinator.





David Huff
Curator of Collections
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As the Gallery’s Curator of Collections, David Huff is responsible for the care of and public engagement with the Gallery’s Art Collection. David has been with the Gallery since 1989, and spent many of those years educating tens of thousands of children and adults about Canadian Art. He has given lectures on Tom Thomson and his art across Ontario and continues his research into the life and times of this mythic Canadian Artist.






Heather McLeese
Curator, Temporary Exhibitions
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Heather McLeese is an emerging curator and artist from Owen Sound, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours Fine Arts and Business degree, double majoring in both Fine Arts and Art History in 2011. Her curatorial interests lie in Canadian contemporary art. Her mission as a young curator is to break down the boundaries of the gallery setting by intertwining narratives to create successful, innovative and engaging exhibitions for all audiences. She currently works as the Curator of Temporary Exhibitions at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound, Ontario.




Patty Sargent-Gibson
Membership and Volunteer Facilitator
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As Membership & Volunteer Facilitator, Patty Sargent-Gibson brings a strong commitment to providing meaningful customer service experiences, which has been a core value throughout her professional life.  Born and raised in Owen Sound, her career has included being Sales & Marketing Representative with the Sun Times and Event Planner and Fundraiser for the Billy Bishop Museum.

Patty is a very active volunteer with the Royal Canadian Legion. She currently holds the position of    District Commander for the 50 branches within District C. She is a Life Member of the Owen Sound Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, and continues to volunteer, when time allows. She has volunteered many hours to other groups and organizations by sitting on the board of directors and committees, or just offering a hand when needed.   Currently she is on the board of the Owen Sound Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Business Excellence Committee.




Christian Bernard Singer
Senior Curator
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Curator of over 75 exhibitions including three major retrospectives, Christian Bernard Singer has always sought to champion and work supportively with artists who push boundaries, materially and conceptually, and to present exhibitions that open pathways to meaningful and resonant experiences for viewers. For over five years, he served as the Curator of the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery. Before this, he was Director of the 2005 Contemporary Art Forum – Kitchener & Area (CAFKA), Curator and Associate Director of Lehmann Leskiw Fine Art until he co-founded Rouge Contemporary Art Projects where he remained as Director and Curator until 2009, bringing Judy Chicago: A Survey of Important Works (curated by Virginia Eichhorn) – the first large-scale survey exhibition for Chicago ever to come to Canada. Singer has managed grant application programs for both The Canada Council for the Arts and the Ministry of Culture and Communications (Ontario), has served on the boards of several arts organizations (currently on the board for OAAG), sat on numerous arts juries and, for several years, taught sculpture at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD University) and the Toronto School of Art. He holds an AOCAD from the Ontario College of Art and Design (including multiple awards for painting and sculpture) and an MFA from The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. In his own work Christian Bernard Singer is best known for incorporating living plant life (and other natural materials) with glass, clay, bronze, found objects and video, into installation-environments,  land art works and sculptures that turn on notions of place, memory and time-passing. His work has been included in numerous museum and land art invitational exhibitions across the country and the United States. His work is represented by Headbones Gallery in Vernon, BC.




Kim Skene
Audience Engagement Manager
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As Audience Engagement Manager, Kim organizes our educational, studio and film programming here at the TOM. Born and raised in Owen Sound, Kim holds an Honours BA in English Language and Literature, and joined the gallery’s public programming team in 2004, following 15 years in sales and management.






Suzanne Watson
Partnerships and Development Manager
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Suzanne Watson is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has lived in Canada for 5 years.  Suzanne studied Cultural Anthropology and Art History at the University of Pittsburgh and also studied Irish History and Literature on a scholarship program at Saint Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland.  Before relocating to Canada, Suzanne worked at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh in marketing and development.  She also wrote and edited curriculum for the museum’s nationwide distance learning program for elementary and secondary schools.  Prior to her position at the Carnegie Museum, Suzanne was an archaeologist for over 12 years and worked with environmental engineering firms and museums throughout the United States, Belize and England.