Durham College artists celebrate diversity with public art project at Regional HQ in Whitby

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Published February 16, 2023 at 11:10 am

The Region of Durham unveiled a “colourful and inspiring” public art installation Wednesday, a community collaboration created by students in Durham College’s Fine Arts program.

The artwork has been installed along the stone wall at the north entrance of the Region of Durham’s headquarters building on Rossland Rd E. The pieces represent the themes of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

“Public art meaningfully connects people with built environment, strengthens our sense of culture and creates a more beautiful community to enjoy every day,” said Durham Chair John Henry. “This new installation does all of that while celebrating the diversity of our region.”

“Thanks to the Durham College Fine Arts students who contributed to this project. It’s a visual reminder of our values, and it will help ensure everyone feels welcome and included here.”

The installation is part of a public art pilot project initiated by the Region to provide ongoing opportunities for public art as a way to “connect people and places, create beautiful spaces” and support the local creative community.

“Durham College prides itself on community collaboration and we are excited that this new art installation by our fine arts students will greet visitors as they enter Durham Regional Headquarters,” enthused Barry Waite, the Executive Dean, Faculty of Media, Art & Design at the college. “The installation reflects our students’ perspective on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility and celebrates the diversity of Durham Region.”

Dani Crosby, a local artist and instructor in the program, said she was “proud” of the student artists and thanked the Region for working with the artists on what she called a “fantastic” project.

“Our artists were well supported as they visually manifested this project’s themes, informed by public feedback, through their own unique lenses. All within the framework of a collaboration rooted in strong communication, respect and mutual trust. “

Last winter, Durham Region surveyed the community to gather feedback about what themes should be represented in public art at Regional Headquarters. More than 160 responses were received, with the top themes being diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

“With these projects, we’re using the power of public art to create thought-provoking, energized spaces that contribute to a unique regional identity” said Sandra Austin, Durham’s Director of Strategic Initiatives. “Through art we can strengthen municipal collaboration and community partnerships to support strategic goals of economic prosperity and community vitality.”

Eleven artists in all contributed to the project, including Abbi @artbyabbim, Darren Ballie, David Wigley, Emma Davey @emyhoneyy, Emma Maclean @emmaainslay.art, Julia Gow, Keyra Flint, Madeline Hebbes, Makayla Rempel, Payton U. @lemonzink and Shurrell Simon.

For more information on the talent pool “bursting with creative individuals” in Durham Region, visit durham.ca/ArtPilotProject, InvestDurham.ca and https://durhamcollege.ca/programs/fine-arts-advanced

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