September 25, 2020

LeonBensasonBY KELSEY DUNBAR

On the second Thursday of every month, the Homer Watson House and Gallery opens its antique doors and invites guests to come in and enjoy a lecture about the various arts and cultures in the city.

The City of Kitchener’s co-ordinator of cultural heritage planning, Leon Bensason, will be speaking at the gallery about conserving cultural heritage landscapes on Thursday, March 13.

The lecture begins at noon and the admission fee is $10.

All of the proceeds go to the gallery’s children’s programs.

Lectures are about 40 minutes followed by a 20-minute question and answer period.

The Homer Watson House and Gallery is holding these lunchtime lecture events to create awareness of the culture and heritage of our city.

“These lectures will give our guests more tools to enjoy and appreciate art, because if you don’t know what your looking at it is sometimes hard to enjoy it,” said Faith Hieblinger, executive director of the gallery.

The lunchtime lecture series will help people get the most out of art, culture and heritage.

Guests will learn to understand nature, environment, culture and even politics from key moments in time.

Hieblinger said she could talk about the historic artist, Homer Watson, in every lecture because there is enough information about him to share, however, they will have other guest speakers in the upcoming months.

For example, Joe Fansher will talk and demonstrate how he teaches how to draw portraitures in April, and in May Dave Schultz, manager of the Grand River Conservation Authority, will talk about the 20th anniversary of the Grand River being designated a Canadian heritage river.

Bensason is the winner of the Waterloo Region Heritage Foundation’s Sally Thorsen Award of Excellence for his outstanding contributions to the city.

As the City of Kitchener’s first heritage planner, Bensason has seen the change in the heritage preservation community throughout the years.

Bensason volunteered to fill the position in 1992 and has been working for the city ever since.

“I am part of a round table of municipality heritage planners and we meet twice a year.

Today, when we meet, there is a good 60 or 70 of us … when I started in the early ’90s we all sat around one table.

There were probably eight of us … It has really grown in terms of interest and now we have two heritage planners within our municipality,” Bensason said.

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