Muskoka: A Community of Artists

June 13, 2017

Outdoor mural in BaysvilleMuskoka is an area rich in culture and has become a popular destination for talented artists to locate and set up shop. There are many galleries, artists’ studios, and studio tour events offering the chance to view local artists’ work.

The rugged beauty of Muskoka has attracted some of Canada’s most famous artists, including Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven who were inspired by our landscapes a century ago. A unique outdoor gallery now pays homage to their artistic brilliance with over 90 murals throughout Muskoka.

Muskoka has always had a reputation for renewal of body, mind and spirit, alongside creativity and restoration. “The benefits of Muskoka to health and well-being and strong connection to nature, is what makes the area so attractive for artists and creative pursuits”, says local artist Gayle Dempsey. Even when the first visitors came to Muskoka under the guise of hunting and fishing, they were inspired to create skits, write and paint. The wild and beautiful landscape of Muskoka continues to inspire artists working in many different disciplines across the region.

Artists of the Limberlost Open Studio Weekend
August 19-20, 2017, 10am-5pm

On an annual weekend in the peak of summer, the artists who live and work along the historic Limberlost Road in the Township of Lake of Bays open their studios to visitors and other accomplished artists and artisans to share their creations. This relaxed summer tour will take you down the cottage roads skirting Bella and Rebecca Lake that have their own tales of Tom Thomson and A.Y. Jackson. You are invited to bring family and friends with you to explore Limberlost to celebrate, explore and be inspired. For more information, visit
Photo, L to R: Catherine O’Mara shows her paintings to guests in her studio, fused glass at Susan Higgins’ studio, Brian Markham's wood-turning studio.

Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour
September 23-24, and September 30-October 1, 2017, 10am-6pm

Fall is a magical time in cottage country when the leaves turn to a riot of colour. This upcoming fall season will also mark the 39th annual Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour. The Muskoka Autumn Studio tour begMuskoka Autumn Studio Touran its artistic journey in the late seventies when sculptor Richard Green had a great idea: why not let the public see beyond the finished work of art into the insight and technique that created it! He was joined by a few friends and these artists of the first tour enthusiastically opened their working spaces to guests.

Four decades of success prove that his vision found its mark. Close to one hundred artists have participated and tens of thousands of people have been welcomed into their studios over 39 years. Visitors can chat with the artist, learn about the materials and skills used in the medium, and even watch a work in progress. The artwork that finds its way into a client’s home is much more meaningful when the new owner understands the process and inspiration.

The public has come to expect a very high standard of art in our region, and this community of artists maintains that standard without exception. It has grown to become a highly respected event attracting new and returning visitors each fall. It is run and funded by the artists with support from several co-promotion businesses. The tour’s founder still takes great pride in the fact that it has brought artists to Muskoka and has put art on the map in Muskoka.

Come and see why the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour has attracted thousands of people to Muskoka: explore and be inspired by the landscape, the artists and their work.
MAST Facebook
Photo Source: Facebook – Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour (
Muskoka Chautauqua: A Vibrant Local Arts Community
Muskoka Chautauqua continues the tradition of creativity and innovation, as so many are drawn to this place for retreat and re-creation whether they reside here year-round, seasonally or come for a visit.
A century ago, Muskoka Chautauqua provided arts and culture experiences to augment programming at resorts such as Windermere House and Elgin House and ultimately found a home on Tobins Island, Lake Rosseau.
Today, Muskoka Chautauqua continues to draw on the area’s artistic resources as well as other creative and innovative professionals, nationally and internationally, in designing and delivering unique experiences for a variety of venues throughout Muskoka.

True to its roots, Muskoka Chautauqua continues to offer experiences such as Artists in Residence, Art Parties and workshops at resorts such as Clevelands House and The Rosseau JW Marriott Resort and Spa, where professional artists lead daily watercolour journaling, writing, painting, print making, music and movement workshops and weekly art/paint parties.

Muskoka Chautauqua is part of the North American Chautauqua Trail and will be hosting the 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of members in October 2017. This is the first time the AGM has been held in Canada. What perfect timing as we celebrate 100 years since the first Chautauqua experiences were offered in Muskoka, which also coincides with Canada’s sesquicentennial.

Arts abound in Muskoka!
Muskoka Chautauqua

Photo, L to R: Beverlie Robertson, Tori Wines, Gayle Dempsey, Gary Froude. Local artists create art mural at Clevelands House of original Chautauqua site as part of Muskoka Chautauqua.

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Copyright Venture Muskoka 2021. We gratefully acknowledge the support of Explorers' Edge in the provision of select photographic images.