Oshawa launching Frame Project for public art next year

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Published May 31, 2023 at 8:45 am

'Pelvetica' framed art project, created by Sandy and Steve Pell and installed in downtown Kitchener in 2020

Oshawa’s public art scene is due for a makeover next year with the City adopting a new public art campaign, dubbed the Frame Project, that will see $18,000 invested every two years in new art that will be displayed in large scale frames on exterior walls throughout the downtown.

The start-up costs will be $30,000 for three 4.47 metres by 6.7 metre aluminum frames, which includes fabrication, installation, artwork printing, installation costs, an artist fee and disbursements, with $18,000 bi-annually for art replacement. The project was inspired by a venture developed by the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Association and the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.

Staff hopes to kick off the program in 2024.

The Frame Project was given the green light at Tuesday’s Oshawa Council meeting after recommendations made at committee, where Councillor Rick Kerr campaigned for yearly replacement of the artwork. Committee, and subsequently Council, decided on the two-year gap to allow the program time to grow.

These new frames will create a “connection” to the existing downtown murals by using the same “two-dimensional visual language.” Since the art will be reproductions (as opposed to original paintings in the case of a mural), the Frame Project will expand the type and style of work presented, allowing for the presentation of photography, illustration, and digital works. Artwork will be changed periodically.

The city centre is currently home to 15 murals – all installed between 1995 and 2001 – with ten of the murals located on private property.

Mural honouring past Oshawa Generals’ greats on Bond St. W. in downtown Oshawa

Oshawa has been working on upgrading the city’s downtown public art scene since at least 2014, with the Public Art Committee established in 2017 to come up with some new ideas.

“Oshawa will be a community where Public Art is innovative, diverse, and accessible to create vibrant public spaces and meaningful connections,” a statement from the committee declared at the time.

Oshawa staff will initiate a ‘call for walls’ and invite downtown property owners who are open to hosting artwork on their property to register their location. Those sites will be reviewed against the site selection guidelines and criteria to recommend appropriate locations.

If the project is successful additional frames can be added in future years.

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