The Franklin Carmichael Art Group is a group founded by the late Dr. Ann Curtin, and whose mandate it is to provide quality art courses to the residents of North Etobicoke. Dr. Curtin moved to Thistletown in 1932 and built her log house on two and a half acres of land above the river at 34 Riverdale Drive in Etobicoke.
In 1952 she formed the art group from a small body of interested artists in the community. Through the friendship between Dr. Curtin and the widow of Franklin Carmichael, the group was named: The Franklin Carmichael Art Group. Mrs. Carmichael attended exhibitions done by the group and donated several of her late husband's artwork for student awards.
From the group's inception a high standard of teaching was stressed. Weekly classes were held in the upstairs room in Dr. Curtin's house at 34 Riverdale Dr, which is now a studio. As membership grew, classes were held in St. Andrew's Anglican Church and the Thistletown Public School, and the old Thistletown Hall hosted the Annual Exhibition for years.
It was Dr. Curtin's dream that her home would become a centre for the arts in North Etobicoke. In 1959 Dr. Curtin deeded her property to the township of Etobicoke, so it would be used for the purpose of art after her death.
During the remainder of her life Dr. Curtin worked to establish an art centre in the community, and in 1971 she opened the Franklin Carmichael Art Gallery, known as the Garden Gallery, which is located behind the house at the top of the hill. In May 1977 Dr. Curtin died, and her ashes were buried under her favorite walnut tree beneath the stone donated by the City of Etobicoke.
In 1981 the City of Etobicoke was awarded a share of monies from the expropriation of the Thistletown Hall to the Art Centre to renovate the house and the gallery.
In 1989 the group became incorporated as The Franklin Carmichael Art Group, and in 1994 they became a charitable organization. A voluntary Board of Members Governs the Group. The Group’s membership continues to grow and the number of classes has expanded from one class per week to many more including: watercolour, oil, acrylic, and drawing classes for children and adults.