MUSKOKAN - In the latest in a series of Celebrity Charity Portrait events, a group of paintings of Bala’s ragtime piano maestro, Jack “Eyebrows” Hutton, will be unveiled at the Bohemian Café and Gallery, 75 Manitoba Street in Bracebridge.
File Photo by Bev McMullen
Everyone is invited to attend from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight, Friday, Sept. 21, as the portraits by artists Helene Adamson, Joyce Butler, Nancy Gray Ogle and Bruce Tyner are revealed for the very first time. After seeing all four works of art — and before discovering which artist created which piece — Hutton will select the one work he personally wishes to keep. The remaining pieces will be auctioned to benefit Hutton’s chosen charity.
The Mustard Seed Fund of the First Muskoka Congregational Church north of Bala assists local people who need confidential financial assistance to help them through family emergencies. Hutton has played piano each Sunday at the church for 20 years.
Hutton joins a list of local notables who have participated in the Bohemian Gallery’s Celebrity Charity Portrait series, including MP Tony Clement, Robin Clipsham’s flamboyant alter ego, “Peaches,” and former hockey player Kris King. In each instance a different group of local artists donated their time and talents and a local charity received all proceeds.
Hutton is known throughout Muskoka and beyond for performing his unique blend of ragtime, Broadway tunes, gospel music and classic favourites of the ’20s and ’30s. He has played for more than 20 years on the RMS Segwun, and appeared at the Gravenhurst Opera House with equal regularity, joined by a list of all-star players under the banner of “Jack Hutton and Friends.” Recently Hutton added the Muskoka Wharf’s Blue Willow Tea Room to his list of venues, and in 2011 he was featured at the Barrie Jazz and Blues Festival.
Hutton received the Pauline McGibbon Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award in 1997, and in 2006 his ongoing contribution to the “preservation of traditional jazz and ragtime” was acknowledged by a prestigious award from the Grand International Ragtime/Jasstime Festival at Alexandria Bay, New York.
A former reporter for the Toronto Telegram, and one time communications director for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, Hutton now lives in Bala where he and his wife Linda founded the Bala Museum with Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery.
The Bohemian Café and Gallery Celebrity Charity Portrait is an event designed to promote local artists, celebrate local heroes, and support local charities.
“It’s an event where everyone benefits,” said gallery owner Tammy Gravina, “a wonderful marriage of art and community spirit.”