Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: World of Wonder: A Program on the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism for Grades K-1

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Part of World of Wonder

Arthur Lismer (1885-1969)

Arthur Lismer was born in Sheffield, England, in 1885. His parents and grandparents were Unitarians, and the family attended the Unitarian chapel in Sheffield. As a boy, Arthur would leave behind the factories and row houses of the town and walk in the woods and fields and on the shore.

Though his family was working-class and money was tight, his parents encouraged him to attend the Sheffield School of Art. A scholarship enabled Arthur to take classes there from age 13 to 20. He also studied in Antwerp.

At the age of 26, he emigrated to Toronto, Canada, leaving behind his fiancee, Esther Mawson. One year later, he returned to England to marry her in the Unitarian church. The newlyweds settled in Canada.

Soon, Arthur became part of the "Group of Seven," artists who traveled through Canada and produced art that inspired pride in the country. He taught at the Montreal Museum of Art and at McGill University, and in 1916, at the age of thirty-one, he became the principal of the Nova Scotia School of Art. In 1929, he was the Educational Supervisor at the Art Gallery in Toronto. He wrote of the school, "The aim of the Art Centre is not to train artists, or teach art, or instruct in drawing, but to lead out from the child, encouraging every spark of feeling and originality and to aid in the extension and co-ordination of hand, eye and mind toward the development of a more emotionally active and alive little personality."

He and his wife, Esther, were active in the Unitarian churches in Toronto and Montreal. He died on March 23, 1969. A service was held at the Unitarian church on Sherbrook Street in Montreal.

Lismer paintings mentioned in the story "Treasure Stones" are Evening Silhouette, The Glacier, Bon Echo, Sunlight in a Wood, and Quebec Village.

Many books show nature's amazing patterns. One is Swirl by Swirl, Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman.

Learn more about seed balls through the article, "Environmentalists Adopt New Weapon: Seed Balls," by Margot Adler from NPR, April 15, 2009.

Visit the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth or the UUA's Green Sanctuary program to learn how UUs are involved in taking care of the earth.