Ireland Park Mural
The mural was installed on the exterior wall of a small building which houses a concession stand and washrooms. The building is in the center of a large park – Ireland Park. It includes several baseball diamonds, among other amenities, and is flanked by schools and residential streets.
I was selected to be one of the first artists to create murals as part of this project for the City. There were 6 murals revealed yesterday at the launch held at Freeman Station. It is an honour to be included in the Burlington Public Art collection.
I enjoyed the Murals 101 Workshop & Project Launch hosted by the Burlington Public Art Program in April. This was a special service geared to Burlington artists – an opportunity for artists like myself who don’t have a lot of experience applying for public art commissions.
This workshop featured Karin Eaton, Executive Director of Mural Routes and mural artist Allan Bender in a lively discussion about contemporary mural making. They discussed a variety of mural techniques and materials using real life case studies.
The community was then asked to give suggestions of locations, and themes for the mural. The theme that I worked with was “Quality of life in Burlington, active living, and families, youth, kids”.
I am not sure what made me choose to do 4 separate images, rather than 1 large one, but right away I thought of the image for panel 3, and then I picked 3 other Burlington locations.
Spencer Smith Park was an obvious choice, it is part of the vibrant downtown, and the waterfront location is ideal for many activities.
Like many other local families we have made numerous good memories there; we have walked, jogged, biked, skated, flown kites, attended festivals, had picnics and used the playground. In fact, when my husband and I first moved to Burlington in 1998, we lived in walking distance to the park.
Ireland Park itself was my next choice, partly because it was the site of the mural, and partly because it is such a Burlington way of life to have the kids in organized sports, like baseball. Green spaces are also an important element for quality of life in this city.
The next panel is my favourite for a number of reasons. It was the first image that popped into my head when I read the theme for the mural. I love to take the family to Mount Nemo to go hiking.
Just being in a beautiful wooded spot like this makes me feel connected to Nature. Not only is that beneficial to our physical, mental and spiritual health, but I always find it is a boost to my creativity. Also, there are often teachable moments with our kids, and the whole experience is good for relationship building.
In this panel, my two sons make a cameo appearance as they look down at the turkey vultures riding the thermals.
Then I painted Sherwood Forest Park which is also used for organized sports like baseball and soccer, and informally by runners, cyclists, people walking their dogs, or families just out for a stroll.
I wondered if this location was not identifiable enough, and yet to me it was also iconic, both my boys played 3 on 3 soccer there, and it is a common sight in the summer time to see soccer fields filled with kids wearing their team colours.
As it turned out, one of the men who installed the mural recognized the location right away. He said he plays soccer there all the time, and he seemed so happy to have that connection to the mural.
That is the kind of reaction I am hoping for … that Burlingtonians who stand in front of the mural will be able to identify with it because they have had similar experiences.
The launch for the event was held at the historic Freeman Station, which is undergoing renovations, hence the visible insulation & subfloor. One of the artists, Clair Hall, unveiled her mural on the outside of the building during the launch.
I brought my ten year old to the ceremony, and he took these last two photos for me. He did a great job, listening to all of the speeches, talking to the Mayor, and not getting underfoot of the press!
Here is a list of the artists and mural locations:
- Judy Mayer-Grieve: King Road Underpass, Ward 1
- Claire Hall: Freeman Station, Ward 2
- Teresa Seaton: Amherst Park, Ward 3
- Hannah Sell and Liam Racine: Port Nelson Park, Ward 4
- Tamara Kwapich: Orchard Community Park, Ward 5
- Donna Grandin: Ireland Park, Ward 6
I’d like to thank the City of Burlington for this commission – specific to Burlington artists, and to Mayor Rick Goldring, Angela Paparizo, Adam Louis and anyone else from City Hall who were involved in this process somehow.
Thank you, to the jury who selected me and to Kim Selman and Jeremy Frieburger of Cobalt Connects for guiding us through the process. Thanks to Burlington Signs National for the installation, and to Burlington Post who posted this preview, with a photo of me in front of the Ireland Park mural.
And above all, thank you to my family, who have been dragged into this artistic life of mine kicking and screaming, and sometimes applauding.
Bonus: Click here to view the other mural I painted, 5 years ago, for the City of Toronto.
Update: here is a new article about the mural launch, from the Burlington Post.
Also, here is the Burlington Public Art Map, the mural is #70.