Artist Jewell Goodwyn is a dedicated community leader with a solid track record of advocating for the non-profit arts sector. Goodwyn’s understanding of, and dedication to, the non-profit arts sector is rooted in her decades of work with grassroots arts organizations and her work as a practicing artist in visual arts, performance art, and photo-based and multi-media installation.
Born in London Ontario, Jewell Goodwyn was introduced to the London art community and its
regionally-based artists at the London Public Library, when the public art gallery was housed on the second floor of their Queens Ave. location. There, she took her first art class with Ron Martin, and was hired as an assistant to children’s art classes with the late Gilbert Moll and Dave Gordon. Goodwyn was first introduced to installation art by seeing Gordon’s work at Forest City Gallery, at its first home on Richmond Street. In the years that followed, Goodwyn would attend an array of events at Forest City Gallery, meeting the vibrant and talented community of artists, including Ron Benner and Jamelie Hassan. Later she would become part of Forest City Gallery as a contributing member and staff.
While completing her Bachelor’s degree (Honours Studio Arts) at Western University, Goodwyn met several renowned artists, including Duncan de Kergommeaux, Roly Fenwick, and the late Robert McKaskell, who became her studio advisors and mentors in her final year.
While a student of Robert McKaskell, Goodwyn participated in the first Annual Free Spring Performance Festival, developed by McKaskell, who also curated and hosted a series of Performance Art events in the mid-1980s at Forest City Gallery. Ten years later, she curated the 10th Annual Free Spring Performance Festival and invited Bob McKaskell to host an evening, with Goodwyn supplying Bob with his own dominatrix. Bob gleefully accepted and hosted one of the Free Performance evenings on all fours.
From 1980 to 1990, Jewell Goodwyn and her daughter Hannah lived at New Brighton Co-op, a small housing cooperative in Old South London. Collaborative ways of living were fostered at this cooperative, creating an excellent environment to make art. This kind of community living and decision-making set the foundation for Goodwyn’s approach as an artist and cultural worker for years to come. While an undergrad student she began exhibiting her large-scale drawings and paintings locally. At Western University, she met writer/artist Karen Baltgailis, who was modelling for life drawing classes. Their friendship blossomed to include weekly drawing sessions and evolved into creating collaborative works. From 1986 to 1992, together Goodwyn and Karen created and exhibited large-scale drawings, installation environments, and elaborate performances with many participants, contributors, and moving parts.
In 1990, Goodwyn and her daughter moved to Regina, Saskatchewan where she completed her Master of Fine Arts (Studio) at the University of Regina. She studied with Dennis Evans, John Noestheden, and her main advisor Leesa Streifler, strengthening and maturing her voice as a feminist artist.
Upon her return to London, Ontario, Goodwyn joined Forest City Gallery and was later hired as staff. She enjoyed being immersed in life at the gallery, which was a hub of activity nearly every night of the week. She participated in exhibits, played many different roles at the gallery, and enjoyed working and showing with other artists. In the winter of 1996-1997, Goodwyn created a site-specific installation EAT ME, in Ground Zero, a project space at Forest City Gallery. The installation garnered considerable media attention and outraged some community members, including a London City Councillor who threatened in The London Free Press to withdraw the city’s grant to Forest City Gallery if Goodwyn’s work wasn’t taken down. The FCG Board and art community members rallied to support Goodwyn and her right to freedom of expression, and her show ran its course.
Goodwyn continued to exhibit her multimedia work, with a focus on the construction of gender, gender disparity, and power relations. (See CV/Exhibition History for more information)
Her work is in private collections across Canada.
Goodwyn has now worked in the not-for-profit arts sector for nearly thirty years, with over twenty years serving the artist run centre community as President (1996 to 1998) and Founding Executive Director (1998 to 2018) of Artist Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO). She grew ARCCO from an informal alliance with no funding to an incorporated provincial arts service organization, which gained recognition from the national arts community and all levels of government as the official voice of artist-run centres in Ontario.
During her tenure with ARCCO, Goodwyn established alliances and networks regionally, provincially, and nationally to build support for the artist run centre community. She was a founding member of Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA), a national arts service organization for artist run centres, and served on ARCA’s Governing Board (2004 to 2012 and 2015 to 2016).
Inspired by the work of La MAL in Quebec, Goodwyn initiated and chaired PASO-OPSA (2007 to 2012), a cross-disciplinary coalition with 24 fellow provincial arts service organizations, to strengthen and increase public investment to the arts in Ontario.
Jewell Goodwyn continues her art practice and is a mentor and arts consultant as principal of J.R. Goodwyn Consulting. Since 2020, she has had the pleasure of mentoring arts administrators from over 30 arts organizations across Canada through the Artsvest Program at Business of the Arts. Goodwyn has also been a member of Arts Consultants Canada since 2020.
Biography Courtesy of Jewell Goodwyn
CV Courtesy of Jewell Goodwyn
Biography Profile Photo: Jewell Goodwyn
Courtesy of Jewell Goodwyn