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Grumpelt wins bid on Horak’s painting

The Horak painting finds a ready home in a Virden living room, "like it was missing."

While he wove a tale of intrigue called Assassinating Thomson, actor artist Bruce Horak also painted a canvass of his audience that night in the Aud Theatre.

Horak outlines a set of troubling circumstances of the famous Canadian artist, Tom Thomson’s death and faces the audience with: “So what if … it wasn’t an accident at all?”

And so, he begins to weave the tale, while daubing paint from tubes onto his pallet. The Horak original was to be auctioned off, that night amidst the Virden audience.

Lynette Grumpelt was in the audience, enjoying the show and when, over an hour later, it came time to bid, she was one of a handful of serious bidders.

The Grumpelts are now the proud owners of Bruce Horak’s work. Lynette says, “It's a very special and truly one-of-a-kind piece of art, which is why we decided to bid on it. Winning the auction was the cherry on top of an already amazing evening.”

Growing up in the Virden area Grumpelt goes on to say, “The Aud Theatre has been a special place to me since I was a child so being able to own a piece of art that captures a specific moment in its lifetime is amazing.”

She says the canvas has found its true home. “I think being able to point to where we sat and say ‘that's us’ is something we'll enjoy for years,” says Grumpelt. “Currently it's hanging in our living room, strangely it fits perfectly in there like it was missing.”

Horak’s performance, was well received by a crowd that filled most of the first floor of the theatre. His own genuine life story (where he credits his faith-filled father for the 9% vision he is now thankful for), intermingled with a lesson on left-brain creativity, and with his imaginative crime story elicited audience reactions from laughter to murmurs.

The Legally Blind performer’s one-man show took the audience on a sleuthing journey revisiting the circumstances around the death of the famous painter, Tom Thomson, in 1917 providing the suspense and hope of solving a century old mystery.

Horak’s most widely recognized acting role may be as Hemmer in “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”. Horak has played on stages across Canada and also has his own art collection that has been showcased at numerous galleries. Find his art at It’s very Tom Thomson and, Group of Seven and… Bruce Horak. He’s an out loud artist, for sure. There’s nothing quiet about his work. It’s large and it would be wonderful to own one of his pieces.

On Saturday evening, Feb. 11, his auctioned art – Aud Theatre - went for $225, (a great deal and a pittance compared to his large, colourful canvases), all of which is a donation to the Canadian Guide Dogs organization.

The Manitoba Theatre Centre production, Assassinating Thomson, was brought to Virden through Arts Mosaic and business sponsors. The show has been on tour since Jan. 30 and continues throughout Manitoba until its close in Churchill on March 4. See the website for details.

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