Local artists are among the many groups that have suffered in this pandemic. After all, art is meant to be enjoyed, in a crowd, in a public gallery and space, and what are you supposed to do when people can’t gather around? The answer seems to be turning outdoor public spaces into art displays, and thanks to some grant money from upper levels of government, that’s an option for a couple of Guelph projects.
Last week, the City of Guelph unveiled “Traverse”, a tourism and cultural initiative that showcases the work of six local artists by putting it up in bus shelters all over town. Local artists Abby Nowakowski, Chanel DesRoches, Christopher Cape, Greg Denton, Jessie Buchanan, and Robert John Paterson have created the new pieces, and they will be seen in 39 different shelters around Guelph making up seven different art tours that you can follow by walking, biking, driving or taking transit around the course.
The project was made possible with $101,000 in funding from FedDev Ontario through the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO). This is from a pot of $30 million that was made available to FedDev through the Ontario Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), which is designed to help economic recovery in the hard hit local tourism sector because of COVID-19.
The six artists for this project were chosen from based on past performance and experience with other City initiatives. All costs were covered by the RRRF funding.
So how does this work. When you go to the Traverse page on the City’s website you will find the seven maps, which cover art tours in every ward in Guelph plus downtown. The shortest walk is 9 minutes, but the longest one is 2 hours and 12 minutes. Fortunately, the City offers suggestions for places where you make like to stop while following the art tour for shopping or refreshment.
The art will be on display from now until November 25, and the City of Guelph is asking that you share the experience by using the hashtage #traverseguelph on your social media feeds.
As previously reported, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund has also been used to create a new public art project along the walkway between the Baker Street parking lot and St. George’s Square. Chanel DesRoches, Robert John Paterson, Amber Ozols, Laura Vautour, and Shanti Hietkamp of the Necessary Arts Collective have painted the pillars there with support and collaboration from the City of Guelph, Downtown Guelph Business Association and TimBri Property Management.