Public Art Unveiled

By John Swartz

The City of Orillia and the Art In Public Places committee had a press conference/event Thursday afternoon at the Orillia Recreation Centre to unveil one of the pieces of art resulting from the Crossroads, Connections and Intersections competition.

New sculptural art is being installed in 6 locations around the City near the trail system and one, a mural, will be on the back of the water filtration plant facing Lake Couchiching.

The project was funded by a $331,700 grant from Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario – some of which was used to hire a consultant to study the City’s public art policy and make recommendations for updating (which happened at Monday’s council meeting).

The event was held at the ORC in order for those attending to witness some of the installation process. The artist, Camille Rajotte of Quebec City, and an assistant were installing the last two panels of her piece called Endorphin. She started at 7 a.m. and by the time of the event the bases for the 4-piece sculpture were in place and two panels were installed.

“Most of the job is already done. When we have a rhythm, it’s OK. We only have the last panel, so it should be fine for tonight,” said Rajotte. She found out about the competition from a website that lists art projects across Canada.

“I was very happy,” to be selected. “It was an idea I had to do this artwork and I was very happy to find a place it could fit perfectly, with the recreation centre and the (trail) connection.”

Most of the sculptures will be installed by the end of April. One other, a three piece work called Hotel Echo Sierra, by Willowdale artist Stephen Cruise was installed Wednesday at the storm water retention pond at Rotary Place.

They are installed at the three entrances to the trail surrounding the pond meant to depict ears (rabbit, human – and as the artist calls it, a helicopter key). Each is made of steel meant to oxidize for 7 years and then stay in that state from there on.  One suspects the installation at the event was meant to be a little further along, so Cruise was asked how his installation went.

“It was very well coordinated, very smooth, dropping it in, drilling four holes for each one, screwing it in with epoxy,” Cruise said. The steel is perforated in a way to indicate line work of the parts of the ears; it’s a series of dots and dashes resembling Morse Code – which it is. The code translates to The Sounds That One Might Hear.

The mural, Biindigen/Welcome, by Toronto artist Soon Cho is being installed Friday. Three of the others are scheduled to be installed by the end of April. They are Stories Converge at Fittons Road where the trail crosses (Bay Street area) by Oro-Medonte native Kyle Thornley who now lives in Revelstoke, B.C.;  Sugar Maple Deer by Toronto/Port Severn artist Monica Wickeler on James Street where the trail crosses (east of Memorial Avenue); and Meandering Rainbow by Gatineau artist Nate Nettleton at Wilson Point Road and the trail.

The last piece, an untitled work by Rachel Babineau, will be installed at Atherley Road and the trail in May. It’s late because the original selection Gold Reflection by Kotama Bouabane ran into problems and was dropped from the project.

“I was thrilled,” Babineau said when she got the call. “It was really great to hear from Ninette (Gyorody, executive director of the Orillia Museum of Art and History). It’s a really exciting opportunity to create art where I grew up. It’s a painted sculpture, a honeycomb that’s going to be painted with wildflowers.”

Babineau is a former Twin Lakes Secondary School student.

During the opening remarks, Gyorody said there will be an event June 10 meant to give everyone a chance to see the art once all the pieces have been installed.

“It’s a fundraiser for OMAH,” she said.

Tickets will be $50 (available starting April 27). It’s called Sunshine City Art Rally and will function kind of like a poker run. People will use their own transportation to get to each site, where they will be met by a member of the Art In Public Places committee who will explain the art and give visitors a token. The tour ends at OMAH where the last token will be given. There will be a silent auction, prizes (including a native plant for each participant supplied by Parklane Landscapes), music and food at OMAH at the end of the tour.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Camille Rajotte installing the last two panels of her piece called Endorphin at the Orillia Recreation Centre.


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