WARDS BROOK - There are donations, and then there is this.
The Age of Sail Heritage Museum has received support from accomplished artist Douglas Fales, which curator Oralee O'Byrne expects will help the museum raise vital funds for months and years to come.
The Westmount, Que. painter has donated more than 40 paintings to the museum, many of which will be displayed in the facility's new Wind and Wave building.
Fales learned about the museum from local resident Keith Graham, a longtime friend who once sailed with him, according to O'Byrne.
"Keith had told him about our museum and he took an interest in it," she said. "He started corresponding with me back in March, and he has a bunch of oil paintings. After I explained that we don't have funds to purchase anything, he donated 43 pastels to us."
The paintings came with no strings attached, and the museum can use them for whatever purpose it chooses, according to O'Byrne, who was preparing to display some of the work at an invitation-only gala night on May 25.
"There are a few we may keep that are more pertinent to our region," she explained. "Otherwise, we'll have them for sale throughout the season."
The 82-year-old artist began his career in 1943 as an apprentice at the Bishop Street studio of Sherriff Scott. After school, he followed a brief stint at The Gazette before joining Morgan's and later Ogilvy's as a professional illustrator. There he worked for 40 years, sketching men's fashions and other works until his retirement in 1985.
Fales has done artwork for the Spencers Island Lighthouse relating to the Mary Celeste, and has also done work in Lunenburg and various Montreal galleries. His pastels sell for $490, while his oil paintings range in value from $480 to $1,500.
"Obviously he's a very accomplished artist, so to have him take such an interest and be so generous is just amazing to us," said O'Byrne.
The paintings will be displayed on the basement level of the Wind and Wave building, which will be unveiled in an official opening on July 28. Other upcoming Age of Sail events include a salad takeout supper on June 17, and the annual memorial service for those lost at sea on June 24.