Artists call for John Gormley's removal from Remai Modern Art Gallery board

A group of artists are calling on Saskatoon City Council to remove John Gormley from the board of the Remai Modern Art Gallery.

Gormley appointed to art gallery board in March

Saskatoon radio host and author John Gormley has been under fire for a controversial tweet made last month. ((CBC))

A group of artists are calling on Saskatoon's city council to remove radio host John Gormley from the board of the Remai Modern Art Gallery.

In a letter, 22 artists say council should replace Gormley, who is also a newspaper columnist and author, with someone from the indigenous or Muslim community.

In November, Gormley posted a controversial message on Twitter in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

"His comments have offended many people in our community. They are divisive and ignorant," the letter to council said. "While we understand that his on-air persona is meant to provoke dialogue, this particular rant has gone too far."

Gormley removed the tweet and later apologized.

Radio host John Gormley has since deleted this tweet and apologized on air for his comments. (Twitter)

Artist Adrian Stimson said he didn't know Gormley was on the Remai board until this week when he noted Gormley was attending a Christmas party hosted by the gallery.

"I thought to myself, 'What is he doing here?'" Stimson said.

He added he holds a low opinion of Gormley's contributions to the art scene.

"He's never really showed his support for the arts in a big way before, other than being antagonistic," Stimson said.

Gormley was appointed by Saskatoon city council to the Remai Modern board of trustees in March. 

Stimson delivered the artists' letter to Saskatoon City Hall Friday morning.

"I think the mayor and council really need to rethink who they have on these boards," said Stimson. "Obviously you're going to alienate a whole bunch of people."

Remai board will review

Alain Gaucher, the chairperson of the board of the Remai art gallery, issued at written statement Friday saying the board will look into the matter, once they see the letter.

"I have been advised that Mayor [Don] Atchison and City Council have received an open letter from a group of Saskatoon artists concerning a Remai Modern board member," Gaucher said in his statement. "When the board receives this letter it will be placed on the agenda at an upcoming board meeting."

Earlier this month some professors at the University of Saskatchewan's College of Law wrote an open letter about Gormley's tweet, calling it offensive and demeaning.

Saskatoon has a review process regarding civic appointments, if people are found to have violated the city's code of conduct.


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