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Born: Dec 29, 1944
Date of Passing: Jun 19, 2020Offer Condolences or Memory
December 29, 1944 - June 19, 2020
He partnered with Paula Mitchell in the late 1960s, and they were married in 1979. They spent over 50 years as partners in life, parenthood, and eventually, business; they were each other's greatest supporter, sounding-board, and advocate. Over the years together their lives were entwined by a growing love between them. For their daughter Anna, Arnold was a source of hilarity, artistic encouragement, and unwavering love and support. He was a stay-at-home dad for her first four years of life, rare for the 1980s, and the closeness of their relationship didn't fade. They never got tired of riffing on each other's jokes.
When the family returned to Winnipeg in 1984, Arnold took up work at Mitchell Fabrics. For years he served the store's diverse community locally and across Canada; with can-do resolution he helped make a safe, strong, and vibrant space on Main Street. He took great pride in the store and felt a deep loss when it closed in 2017, but looked forward to spending more time in his studio.
Arnold's sense of humour was always in play. He had a keen eye for the world's absurdities, which he could effortlessly spin. He could be cynical about humanity on the whole, but he loved people; he delighted in hearing a new perspective and easily engaged with anyone. Connection was everything to him, and he made it happen wherever he could. He had deep and abiding friendships, some lasting over 70 years, many forged more recently.
He was forward-thinking, always excited by new ideas. In 1966, Arnold and friends opened The Experiment, an art gallery and shop on Osborne Street. It quickly became a hub for Winnipeg's counterculture, leading the way for the sleepy strip to become Osborne Village. He liked to say The Experiment brought the spirit of the 1960s to Winnipeg.
Arnold had a voracious appetite for culture. His music and film collections were vast and varied, from modern to vintage, high to low; he got joy from B movies as much as from classic cinema. His bookshelf reflected deep curiosity, a wide intellect, and a passion for literature.
Many of Arnold's cherished friends were artists at varying stages of experience; he delighted in discussion, debate, complaint. He was mentored and he mentored. In the latter role he led mostly by example: be critical but kind, do the work, and always buy a bottle of wine for the table.
Fittingly, Arnold spent every day of his last week at his studio, after months of staying away due to the pandemic. He died on June 19, 2020, shortly after a sudden and unexpected heart episode there.
Arnold is survived by his wife Paula Mitchell, daughter Anna Leventhal and her partner Evan Hall, sister-in-law Ruth Ann Borenstein, brother-in-law Michael Mitchell and sister-in-law Lynne Mitchell, nieces, Rachel Mitchell and husband Jeremy Otto, Alisa Daly and husband Robert Daly, and Sara Mitchell and husband Ryan Fishman, grandnephews, Ben, Noah, Dov, Myles, and Simon, and grandniece Lyla Bea, and dear friends, cousins, and other relatives.
A memorial will be held when it's safe for family and friends to gather.
Donations in Arnold's memory can be made to Art City, a vital community organization whose work was close to Arnold's heart.
Publish Date: Jul 11, 2020
December 29, 1944 - June 19, 2020
A memorial event will be held when family and friends can gather safely.
Publish Date: Jun 27, 2020
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Jun 27, 2020, Jul 11, 2020
Condolences & Memories (9 entries)
All of us at Art City were touched by the news of our friend Arnold's passing. He and Paula are true art champions in our city and have done so much for Art City over the years, deserved recipients of the Art City Star Award. More recently, I personally had the privilege of developing a friendship with Arnold and enjoyed several truly fascinating conversations in his studio. What a brilliant man, what a gifted artist. His body of work on the Oka Crisis is my favourite. He painted as a way to try to organize the chaos he saw in the world, with beautiful results. Though our friendship has been cut sorely short, I will treasure the memories that I have. My heart for Paula and Anna. Thank you for honouring Art City as a tribute to Arnold's incredible legacy. - Posted by: Josh Ruth (Art City, Managing Director & friend) on: Jul 20, 2020
We were very sorry to hear of Arnold's passing. We have fond remembrances of Arnold when he was in London, ON with Paula and Anna. We remember him as friendly, witty and helpful. We continue to enjoy his beautiful painting and batik, which he generously gave us when he was moving back to Winnipeg in 1984. - Posted by: Louise and David Bellhouse (Old friends) on: Jul 14, 2020
One of the most significant reflections on my own art work came from Arnold who I had reconnected with over Facebook. For him to say something about my work was like winning an Oscar or First Prize as I always thought of him as a real artist as I was growing up. My mom had a piece of his in our house and seeing his work now I knew he was indeed the real deal. The world has been cheated by his loss and as I will prize my time being connected I will mourn his loss and the loss of future time with him. - Posted by: Larry Leventhal (cousin) on: Jul 14, 2020
Arnold was one of my favourite relatives. He was a talented artist and a great human being. He will be missed. I’m so sorry for your loss. - Posted by: Geoffrey Theuman (Cousin ) on: Jul 14, 2020
Arnold was always Cousin Arnold to me. Our families have been close close friends from before I was born. Arnold to me was always like a Big Brother and Mentor. It was with a very sad heart hearing about his passing. My deepest condolences to Paula and Anna. - Posted by: Barry Flom (Almost Cousins) on: Jul 11, 2020
I had the good luck of meeting Arnold in 1968 when the counter culture movement had just found a place to hang its hat. That place was The Experiment, and although the whole scene combining philosophy, psychedelia and art posed more questions than I could begin to fathom, a direction was pointed. A direction of possibility, of questioning and inquiry as being essential, of not knowing as being OK. This was a liberation and helped me follow my heart to music. Arnold was kind, interested and gave off a vibe of acceptance and support. Thanks, Arnold! - Posted by: Colleen Savage (friend) on: Jul 11, 2020
I was terribly saddened to hear of Arnold’s passing. He was truly a wonderful person and so very generous, good-humoured, and easy-going. He always went above and beyond for customers. My deepest condolences to Paula and Anna. He will be dearly missed by many. - Posted by: Althea Dunlop (Former Mitchell’s staff) on: Jul 10, 2020
Arnold is one of the truly most generous and genuine person that I have ever known. Walking into Mitchell Fabrics always felt like home. I will miss you very much Arnold. - Posted by: Roy Liang (Former Customer) on: Jun 30, 2020
Was shocked to read in the paper that Arnold is gone. As children we were very close. He was a vibrant person that you could not help but be drawn to. He will be missed by many. - Posted by: Cheryl and Eric Mellon (old friend/cousin) on: Jun 27, 2020
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