In 1977, Mitzi Bidner bought a small church on Lyon Street in Ottawa. At the time, she was working on her paintings, and working for a commercial Gallery in the St. Laurent Shopping Center for Michael Gabor. On the side, Mitzi was committing to her church as an independent project, renovating the space for new life.

Many artists desired to exhibit their work in this new space. It was bright with white walls, illuminated by natural light coming in from the skylights on the 30-foot ceilings. So in 1978, Mitzi began to showcase the works of many Canadian Artists up on these walls. Thus, “the Church and Art Space” was born.

She had successfully converted the small church on Lyon Street into her place of residence as well as an exquisite and successful gallery. At this point she had taken an extended break from painting, as all of her time and energy was spent working for the many artists that approached her, and whose works she admired.

During this time, Mitzi also made a commitment to Kittie Bruneau, purchasing all of her canvas work. Acting as her patron and dealer, she supported her financially and promoted her work in her gallery with an exhibition every year. This allowed and encouraged Kittie to commit to her artwork without financial worry. Mitzi shared that if she had been in the financial position to do so, she would have loved to support many more artists this way.
The following are some of the names of artists who had exhibitions in her gallery in Ottawa: ALEX JANVIER, ROBERT HOULE , BOB BOYER, DONINGO CISNEROS, RICHARD GORMAN, WILLIAM RONALD, NORMAN LALIBERTE, KITTIE BRUNEAU.

Mitzi used her space, time, and passion to promote Canadian artists. In 1981 she financed a trip to Washington and New York for seven Canadian Artists, having organized exhibits for their work to gain wider admiration.

Mitzi also opened a gallery space in New York in the Soho district, called “Soho Mercer Gallery,” but eventually closed the New York Gallery in 1983. Mitzi completely financed every exhibition that she did for these Canadian artists. She additionally funded their opening vernissage, and lunches for the collectors. Often, she paid for framing and advertising to be done, and in many instances, purchased some of their work herself. The gallery attained the reputation of being the finest in Ottawa.

Mitzi succeeded to get many large commissions for her artists. She worked with the American architect Gregg Powe to get a large tapestry done by the Quebec-born artist Norman Laliberte. This tapestry was installed in the Indian affairs Building on Promenade de Portage in Hull, where it hangs to this day.

She worked hard to get the contract to supply all the artwork for the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto, and commissioned 10 Canadian artists to produce limited edition prints to be installed in all the rooms, and original art for the elevators and hallways. She also got the contract to install original Canadian art in the grand suites in the Weston Hotel in Ottawa. She provided original Canadian art for the Ballroom. She also marketed these artists’ works to many Canadian businesses and corporations. Additionally, she proposed and sold many works by Canadian Artists to The Art Bank of Canada, and to Canadian Museums.

She worked tirelessly for 10 years promoting Canadian Aboriginal artists as well as other Canadian artists. She used all her sales ability to influence many young and older people to start collecting Canadian Art, thereby creating Canadian Art Collectors. She studied the great artists and dealers such as Duveen, Keinwaller, Leo

Castelli and Mary Boon to learn about what they did for their artists. With this knowledge, and over the years, she carefully built up the careers of her artists and the prices of their work.

She closed and sold her church gallery in 1989, but continued to support and buy all of Kittie Bruneau’s canvas works for seven more years.

In 2007, Mitzi started a film company, called “Art Today Canada.” Mitzi was the producer of 14 films on the lives and works of visual artists in Canada and Mexico, where she spends her winters painting. Copies of these films are in the library of the National Gallery of Canada as well as school libraries. Some of these films can be seen on You Tube. These films proved to be invaluable tools for the artists to use in the marketing of their work.

In 1986, she built a house in the Gatineau Park and since then has been concentrating all of her time and energy in producing her own paintings. She paints every day, from 8 AM to 2 or 3 PM producing many small to huge paintings, doing what she loves best. Her energy is incredible and she uses it in a very positive, joyful way. She says that she is 88 years young, and that she doesn’t just paint, she plays –an art in itself.