Richard Toms - A Brief Biography:

Richard Toms has contributed to the arts in the Durham Region for over 20 years. As an artist, arts educator, education coordinator, print-shop supervisor, curator and Executive Director he has worked tirelessly to promote and advocate for a strong cultural mandate. He has committed himself to educating both children and adults by teaching art classes and workshops at the Station Gallery (Whitby), Community Services Department (Whitby), The City of Oshawa, The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Durham College and more. He has also been an active advocate regionally, provincially and federally for increased funding for the cultural sector.
  • Artist

  • Arts Educator (The Station Gallery, The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, The Durham Board of Education, The City of Oshawa, The Town of Whitby, Durham College Foundations in Art and Design Workshops)

  • Education Coordinator (The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington)

  • Print Shop Supervisor (The Nicholas Novak Print Studio,The Station Gallery, Whitby)

  • Executive Director (the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington)
As an artist Toms has participated in over 100 group and solo shows in Southern Ontario, Spain and France. He has worked with well-known artists like Anne Meredith Barry and Otis Tamasauskas. He has contributed artwork to numerous annual fundraisers and worthy causes including the Alzheimer’s’ Society, the Station Gallery’s Drawing For Art, The Durham Board of Education’s Prelude to a Dream and many others. Richard has also donated thousands of hours of his time volunteering at area galleries to promote, teach and fundraise. His work has been featured in book publications like Paradigm Shifts 2 published by Quarry Press. He has encouraged young artists to pursue a life in the arts. As an artist he has won numerous awards, curated exhibitions and continues to create and exhibit work despite a very busy schedule.

As an arts educator he has worked enthusiastically to promote the arts in his community especially regarding his main interest-printmaking. Working with programs like the Durham Board of Education’s Arts Enrichment program he has taught thousands of children the wonderful experience of creating and expressing themselves. While working with Durham College’s Foundations in Art and Design program (Fine Art workshops in printmaking and pottery are held at the VAC) he established VAC prizes for their Annual Juried Exhibition.

As Education Coordinator at the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington he created an intensive school visit program that interacted with area schools. Over a two-month period he taught over 70 classes in 12 different public schools. This initiative encouraged and promoted both the VAC’s programming and the value of a visual arts education.

As Print Shop Supervisor of the Nicholas Novak Print Studio at Whitby’s Station Gallery he collaborated on the creation of Fine Art Editions by well-known artists like Anne Meredith Barry and Master Printmaker Otis Tamasauskas. This position allowed him the opportunity to work independently in a well-equipped studio on his own etchings, lithographs and relief prints. As supervisor he assisted other artists including screen-printing work for Elsii Caetano Faria’s Exhibition Water at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery. He has also assisted artists in the Iris group with technical skills necessary to complete their work.

In 2001 Richard took the position of Executive Director of the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington. As ED he has implemented many changes at the gallery. These include major building improvements and renovations, the Rotary Centennial Garden Project Phase 1 and Phase 2, expanded the membership, created student bursaries, (the Elfriede Haunsberger and Margaret Rodgers Annual High School Bursaries) and an annual artist bursary, created outreach activities in area schools (through the VAC’s Curriculum Connections Program), partnered and assisted with other local non-profits and created a safer more accessible facility.

These are the “broad strokes”, so to speak, of a life dedicated to arts education and raising the visibility of the arts in his community over a span of 20 years.

© Richard Toms, 2024