© Guardian photo
Artist Gerald Beaulieu after installing one of a trio of cormorants at the Montague waterfront.
From cormorants to wood sculptures and paintings, the success of the new “Art Trail” in eastern P.E.I.’s largest town has prompted the municipality to seek funding to commission 10 more art works for 2017.
The town has applied to the Canada 150 Fund for the dollars to expand the outdoor Art Trail that, according to town council, has proven a great success for residents, the region and for tourism.
The application now filed coincides with federal funding being made available as part of the 150th birthday celebrations of Canada in 2017 – which also happens to be the 100th birthday of the town of Montague.
“We are applying for a significant sum and we can only hope we’ll get some of the dollars to proceed,’’ confirmed town councillor Debbie Johnson.
The town is seeking $210,000 from Canadian Heritage and if approved would start the project by approving art commission in the fall of 2016 that would be ready for display during the summer of 2017.
The expansion would mean more paintings, sculptures and design work throughout the town complete with a new “audio guide” tour available to participants to view what could be as many as 17 art works in total.
I’ll eat crow on this…it’s turned out better than I ever thought. Montague Coun. Jim Bagnall
The current Art Walk engages visitors to walk through the centre of the town bisected by the Montague River to view seven works of art; from three cormorants sitting on poles overlooking the water to a whimsical fish display, along with paintings and wood sculptures on both sides of the bridge depicting scenes of early settlement and fishing in the region, to a façade on one town building that used to be both fire hall and jail.
“I was not in favour of this Art Trail originally, but it’s the best project we’ve ever done,’’ said town councillor Jim Bagnall. “It’s increased visitors and been a big draw for the town. I’ll eat crow on this…it’s turned out better than I ever thought.”
The new proposal for 10 more pieces of art, along with the original Art Trail launched in 2014, was developed by fine arts graduate student Ariel Sharratt, who was hired by the town.
The project sought out Island artists to propose possible works of art that were then chosen by a panel and commissioned.