Finn marks successful reno of historic house
By Darren Lum
Published Oct. 13, 2016
It might not have been what her family wanted, but that didn’t stop Carole Finn from listening to her heart, which still beats for her late husband Donald J. Finn.
Despite misgivings about renovating her husband’s law office, which operated from 1962 to 2004, she turned the 100-year-old Newcastle Street office into a beacon of artistic inspiration.
The building has been transformed into the Finn Artists’ Center, preserving the building as it would have been when it started.
Finn said the renovation of the former manse for the neighbouring Minden United Church is a “reinvention of a very, very old charming house that is part of the history and fabric of Minden.”
This was important to Finn’s husband and central to her effort.
“He really was a historian and loved the old part of the building and he was the one that really did keep it intact. It really did stay almost as it was then,” she said.
Finn shared her feelings at an informal ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 25 with the unveiling of the new sign for the artists’ centre in Minden, inviting friends Jeanne Anthon, Pat Campbell and Reverend Max Ward of the Minden United Church to share in the event.
Art is important to Finn and is something that enables people to express themselves.
This centre, she said, will be a place to create, particularly for those who don’t believe they can be artistic.
“Some of them aren’t going to be the greatest artists in the world, but at least they will understand what it’s all about. That will help the art world too,” she said. “That’s the biggest problem we have, even as artists, is that people don’t understand what you’re doing.”
This centre will also be a showcase of the many hours and effort artists put towards their creations.
Finn’s love of art started at 15 when she was given a unique opportunity to learn from a professional artist through a program funded by Canadian author Robertson Davies, who was at the time the editor of the Peterborough Examiner. He said the city lacked art and believed education could change that.
The centre’s official opening was on July 10, but Finn started planning for this building close to a year ago.
The work included the removal of four dead elm trees from outside the house, landscaping and renovation to the first floor. There are still several things left to do such as the addition of new windows, renovation to the second floor where she wants to set up a print studio and two working artists’ studios.
Years ago there were more practising artists in Minden. This centre, she hopes, will provide the base for a renaissance to draw more to the town.
“Haliburton has a lot of artists, but there are very few artists that are practising here,” she said. “Everybody who is coming is so happy to get their paints out again so I think it will be the nucleus of another bunch of people who are starting to take up art again ... it’s maybe going to help down here get its little art community back again.”