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Efforts to add some splashes of public art around downtown Charlottetown are moving forward.
The city’s arts advisory board met on Tuesday and voted to move to the next stage, which is to seek out landowners who might be willing to have a mural painted on the side of the building.
The board hosted an open house at The Guild on March 5 to give the public a peek at the many ideas which were submitted as part the Imagine Charlottetown initiative. However, everything came to a screeching halt shortly after that when public health restrictions were put in place, all but putting the public art process on hold.
However, the Imagine Charlottetown initiative is back on the rails again.
“We’re not moving as fast as we would like to, but we are putting our ducks in a row to start the process of creating ore public art in downtown Charlottetown,’’ Barb MacLeod, chairwoman of the arts advisory board, told The Guardian following Tuesday’s meeting.
The board has decided to start the process by trying to find locations for murals because it was the top suggestion when the board put out a call for ideas. A key part of that process is finding ideal locations and willing landowners.
They’re hoping to find at least a handful of landowners in the downtown area who think a touch of colour would look nice on the side of their building.
At a glance
Following are some of the ideas submitted to Charlottetown’s arts advisory board on the types of public art people would like to see:
- Large murals on plain side of buildings
- Water fountains
- Bench art
- Painting the Irving tanks
- Urban lounge furniture for city’s parks
- Suspended overhead lighting
- Artistically designed lighting systems
- Locally-made Christmas decorations
- Roundabout art
MacLeod is quick to point out that they have no intention of putting a mural on the side of any sort of historic building.
“We’re trying to take the areas that are not attractive and make them more attractive. As beautiful as Charlottetown is, there are a few bits and pieces that aren’t too shiny. Maybe some landowners will read this article in the paper and think their building would be perfect and want to be put on the list. All we’re doing is creating a list.’’
Willing landowners will be asked to sign what the board is calling a pre-approval agreement, which is not binding.
“It just says, ‘right now, we’re pretty interested in having you consider our building for a mural’. That’s step one.’’
Once the board comes up with a handful of locations it will submit the list to the planning department. The challenges are this point will be dealing with city bylaws.
Once it gets approval from planning, it will then submit the dimensions of the buildings before requesting ideas from local artists. However, the artists who submit ideas won’t be the ones painting the actual murals.
“The painting of the mural is done by a mural team. And, all of that would have to be costed out, according to the size of the mural.’’
MacLeod estimates each mural would cost between $100 and $500 per three-foot-square piece, all depending on the size and detail.
MacLeod acknowledges it’s not the best time to be asking the city for money.
“But, we’re still going to ask and try and get one mural done a year for the next three years,’’ she said.
Did you know?
• Anyone with an idea for public art or landowners willing to have a mural painted on the side of their building should email MacLeod at [email protected].
Dave Stewart is the municipal reporter for The Guardian.