Ches Sulkowski's historical sketches featured at the library

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Ches Sulkowski remembers Tillsonburg's old Town Hall before it was dismantled in 1979.

It's one of his favourite historical sketches.

"I kind of like the old Town Hall sketch and the old Carnegie library," said Sulkowski, setting up his Oxford Creative Connections Inc. exhibit at the Tillsonburg Library last Wednesday afternoon.

"I also like my church series, I think they have lots of character."

All the sketches featured in his current exhibit are of local historical buildings that are gone, torn down. Some were done from his own old photos and paintings, and some – like the 1870s public school – came down long before he moved to Tillsonburg. For those sketches, he used old postcards.

"It's nice to bring them back," he said, noting the sketches fit with the mural he painted of Tillsonburg's Carnegie library inside the newly renovated OCL library.

"Most of these were already torn down – it's a shame, we had some really nice buildings in this town."

Sulkowski put up 11 sketches on Wednesday. He might add a few photographs for the six-week exhibit.

"We'll see how much space there is, but I might just keep it to the sketches."

Most of the sketches were originally done for a LACAC calendar series. Some he did individually.

"Most of the originals are in collections," he noted.

Oxford Creative Connections Inc. is a non-profit group that identifies, supports, develops and promotes arts and culture in Oxford County. In addition to the gallery at the Tillsonburg Library, there are two Woodstock galleries and one in Ingersoll.

"Basically every six weeks we change the art and a new local artist is featured," said Mary-Anne Murphy, Oxford Creative Connections Inc. cultural coordinator. "It gives the artists an opportunity to have their work in a gallery, and it also gives the community an opportunity to see local artists."


Sulkowski, a retired art teacher, spent his entire career teaching in Tillsonburg, including 20 years as head of visual arts at Annandale High School, where he taught mostly art, photography, and graphic design. He finished his career at the new Annandale School as program coordinator of Arts and Technology from 1995-2005.

Specializing in drawing, painting and photography, Sulkowski's current exhibition in the Tillsonburg Library consists of a collection of prints commissioned by the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Council (LACAC) for a calendar representing historical buildings in Tillsonburg.

Sulkowski was recently commissioned by the Knights of Columbus to paint a large mural in the library.

A longtime member of the Station Arts Centre, he has had many exhibitions in their art gallery.

An active member of the Tillsonburg Photography Club, he now works from his home studio as an artist/photographer and is open for commissions in all mediums for portraits, architectural landscapes, graphic design and photographic compositions.


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