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October 20, 2022 0 comments

The Town of Orangeville’s public art collection has grown with four new utility boxes and a wall installation on the shed in the Orangeville Community Garden and Orchard. Art submissions were selected by the Orangeville Cultural Plan Task Force to be featured on city-owned assets.

The Utility Box Art Display program recognizes local artists, celebrates the city’s culture and history, and promotes Orangeville as an arts and culture hub for the region. The beautification effort began in downtown Orangeville in 2016 with three installations and has since grown to a collection of 31 unique pieces of public art, including this year’s additions.

“The continued success of this program demonstrates the breadth of creative talent in our region,” said Councilor Lisa Post, Chair of the Cultural Working Group. “Each installation allows the community to connect with our local artists, in a colorful and inspiring way.”

The five pieces selected for the new locations were submitted as part of a call for artists launched by the City in early 2022:

· “Autumn Leaves” by Kelly Blackstock of Orangeville was inspired by the natural surroundings adjacent to the utility box. The coin features an owl against a backdrop of long grass, reeds and cattails. The muted earth tones capture the comforting associations we make with the fall season. The facility is at Broadway and C Line. Kelly grew up in Orangeville and has always been active in the local arts community. She is now a high school teacher at Center Dufferin District High School, teaching in the visual arts and family studies programs.

· “Fire Star” by Jeffrey J Nagy of Orangeville was created using only camera settings without any further enhancements or modifications. The photograph captures one of many brilliant light shows at Christmas in the Park, an annual event hosted by the Optimist Club of Orangeville. A resident of Orangeville for 20 years, Jeffrey still remembers his first Christmas in the community and his first visit to Kay Cee Gardens during the holiday season. The park is a special place for the artist and he hopes this installation will evoke the same feeling in visitors. Other photographs of Jeffrey can be viewed at www.creativeimpulses.ca.

· “Papillion” by Deborah Powell of Amaranth captures the beauty of butterflies in flight. The abstract piece was created using acrylic paint and the artist selected vibrant colors to convey the butterfly’s ability to soar and spread feelings of joy. The work is displayed at the intersection of Riddell Road and Centennial Road. Initially a watercolourist, Deborah discovered abstract acrylic pouring and now mainly uses this technique to create her pieces. She also teaches classes and organizes group events through her business To Pour With Love. More details can be found on Instagram and Facebook @topourwithlove.

· “Roses Aren’t Always Red” by Deb Menken of Mono is a digital manipulation of the artist’s original acrylic painting. The colorful depiction of flowers and foliage pays well-deserved homage to the former Dufferin Garden Centre. The business operated from 1974 to 2021 from its location at Centennial Road and C Line, where the artwork is now housed. Deb is a passionate artist who creates abstract pieces in acrylic and mixed media. She is an active member of Headwaters Arts and often leads workshops at Maggiolly Art. To learn more about Deb’s work, visit www.debmenken.com.

· Wheatfield, Dufferin County” by Stella Capogna of Mono celebrates Dufferin County’s rural history. The hay bale oil painting speaks to the region’s rich agricultural diversity and the artist’s desire to draw attention to the contributions of the generations of people who have farmed the land. The work is installed at the Community Garden and Orchard of Orangeville at 30 Center Street. Stella is a painter and sculptor, often combining a variety of materials to create unique pieces. To learn more about his work, visit www.terrasassostudio.com.

An online listing of all public art, including these new installations, is available at www.orangeville.ca/digital-guide. A free mobile app called Driftscape can also be used to learn about each location in a more interactive way. Residents and visitors are invited to explore the tree sculptures, murals and monuments that contribute to Orangeville’s public art collection.

The Utility Box Art Exhibit Program offers local artists the opportunity to submit unique artwork to be installed on select utility boxes around the city using a custom vinyl wrapping process. Successful artists receive compensation of $750 for their creations. Artists residing in Dufferin County are welcome to apply. Watch for a call for artists in spring 2023.