Public Art

children playing on splashpad

The City of Peterborough's Public Art Program produces contemporary artwork to enhance and animate public spaces throughout the City. Our growing public art collection encompasses a variety of artforms including performances in a park, projections on the side of a building, sculptures, murals, monuments, or the design of city infrastructure such as street furniture.

Many projects have been developed in collaboration with arts or community organizations or with local businesses. With these partnerships, we have been able to keep up with current trends in art making, respond to the needs of the community and engage with people of all ages.

Our Public Art Interactive map will help you find public art installations across the City.

Current Opportunities and Recent Projects

Current projects and opportunities are listed below. Calls-to-Artists for public art opportunities will be made available here.

Renaissance on Hunter

Artists 

Bonnie Kubica, Marcy Palmer, Casandra Lee, Miguel Hernández Autorino, Anica James, Araura Marche, Brooklin Holbrough, Garrett Gilbart, Tia Cavanagh, Kollene Drummond, Naomi Duvall, Aaron Robitaille 

Site I  Site II 

Site III  Site IV

About the Artists’ Garden Project and the Road Mural Project

In April, the City of Peterborough invited artists to submit proposals for two distinct but related public art projects: The Artists’ Garden Project and The Road Mural Project.

Collectively named Renaissance on Hunter, the two initiatives called on artists to animate the lane closures along Hunter Street and transform the corridor into a welcoming and engaging pedestrian space for the warm weather season. This broadly defined call was intended to welcome a range of responses. Anchored by endorsements from the mayor and the Arts Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee, it also gave artists an opportunity to think about how we may navigate the pandemic recovery together, and let healing begin. 

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have turned to the arts for comfort. When we are willing to ask ourselves what it means to live together, and as we look towards healing, we must also look to our artists. For artists hold the possibility of hope in their creations."

— City of Peterborough, Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee, 2021

Responses to the call came from emerging and established artists and ad hoc artist teams working in a range of disciplines and media.

The living artworks and network of murals they created for Renaissance on Hunter evoke ideas around ecology, sustainability and food security, diversity, inclusivity, resilience, and compassion. Within a brief Hunter Street stroll the gardens and murals also remind us of the vibrancy of our community, what it means to walk together or share a meal, and the joy of moving freely, playfully, and safely. Always safely.

The Renaissance on Hunter is the first public art project of its kind in our city. It was developed in consultation with the Planning and Transportation Divisions and Accessibility Office, and is being presented in partnership with Artspace, the Downtown Business Improvement Area and GreenUp. It is being administered and funded through the City’s Public Art Program.

We are grateful for the support of this community and for the care and expertise the selection committee members brought to the proposal review process. We extend our deepest appreciation to all the artists who applied. 

 Site I

Gardens

Bonnie Kubica and Marcy Palmer’s Hunter Shelter gardens are comprised of living, dying and constructed elements envisioned to provide an “opportunity for us to creatively think about how built structures and temporary urban spaces can support living species.”

Fragments cut from a 30’ long tree limb, installed sequentially in each planter from Aylmer Street to the Hunter St. parkade are accompanied by unconventional planting groupings. Plants from the tree’s native environment grow beside a careful selection of introduced, non- native, and ornamental plantings, as well as drought tolerant, pollinator friendly species, and culinary plants. The groupings were planned to represent “the realities of a complex urban landscape” and “honour the diversity and vibrancy of the people and businesses in the district”. Together, the nine planters making up the Hunter Shelter Gardens are intended “to encourage people to look for wildness, resilience and energy.”

Marcy Palmer is a Peterborough-based artist, and urban food and forest advocate. Marcy has shown her sculpture widely in Canada and the U.S., including the Portland Museum of Art, PDX Contemporary Art, Yukon Arts Centre, and the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery. As a complement to her art practice, Marcy devotes the summer months to beekeeping, re-wilding landscapes and designing gardens in the region. She holds a MFA in Visual Art from the University of Victoria and earned a Permaculture Design certificate in Occidental, CA. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in landscape architecture at the University of Calgary, focusing on climate change adaptation in urban environments. 

Bonnie Kubica is an artist and well-known local chef and proprietor of BE Catering, a food and people-based business established in Peterborough in 1998. During Covid she has been devoting time to developing her textile art, which is largely inspired by gardens and nature. Bonnie adores the diversity, energy, music and love that Hunter Street holds, and found the opportunity to participate in the Renaissance on Hunter Artists’ Garden project very close to her heart. She holds a BFA in Photography from the University of Ottawa and graduated with distinction from Stratford Chef’s School.

Road Mural

Miguel Hernandez and Casandra Lee’s Picnic by Water focuses on multiculturalism, inclusivity, and the beauty of the Canadian landscape and culture.

“We both loved the idea of a deck and stepping stones to encourage playfulness, movement, and interaction with the mural. As newcomers to Canada, multiculturalism and inclusivity were important components to add into our image. Casandra suggested a picnic and food from different cultures. The New Canadians Centre kindly provided us with a list of the top countries of origin for newcomers to Peterborough (Syria, India, Philippines, China, Vietnam, Mexico, China, South, Korea, Iraq, Colombia). This diversity is reflected in the picnic offerings. Miguel had the idea of ants carrying the food to represent people celebrating together and building community.  We invited community members to write “hello”  in their first language on stepping-stones throughout the mural . The picnic blanket is an analogy to Canada and Peterborough as a welcoming place to immigrants and refugees."

Miguel Hernández Autorino is a Venezuelan oil painter, muralist and designer living in Peterborough, since 2016. He has participated in multiple First Friday Art Crawls and created numerous public art pieces in downtown Peterborough, including institutions such as PRHC, Health Unit Peterborough, and The New Canadians Centre. Miguel sits on the Board of Directors at the Art School of Peterborough and is an active volunteer of the New Canadians Centre. Throughout the year, he teaches private lessons and drawing classes at the Art School of Peterborough. He is an honours graduate in Industrial Design from Los Andes University in Venezuela. 

www.autorinoart.com

Casandra Lee is an Asian-American visual artist and author, living in Peterborough since 2019. Casandra collaborated with The Centre for Women and Trans People, and The New Canadians Centre (NCC). Her artwork has been part of six publications in the last year. Casandra has written and illustrated two children’s books including The Sun Dance (2014) and Building a Home (2021) which will be released later this year with the NCC. In July, a video of her oil painting will be part of the Borderless Music and Arts Festival. Casandra is a Montessori teacher at the Kawartha Montessori School. She holds a B.A from the University of California.

www.casandralee.com

 

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 Site II

Gardens

The Bee a Good Companion community vegetable and herb gardens created by Anica James and her 10-year-old business partner and neighbour, Araura Marche, emphasize compassion for strangers.

“The pandemic has been hard on everyone…We want to encourage everyone who sees the planter boxes to grow food and flowers for their own well-being, while showing them how much can be achieved in a small space… By mixing edibles like tomatoes, basil and lettuce with Cosmos, Zinnias, and Calendula, we hope that our planters will be a colourful feast for both humans and pollinators…and that the vegetables and herbs will be consumed and enjoyed by those in need.”

Anica James is a multidisciplinary artist, and the owner and operator of two small local gardening businesses: Trowel + Shears and Growing Upright. Her photographic work has been published in several publications including Maclean’s, Le Monde, Photographers Without Borders magazine, Varoom magazine, The Atlantic, The Kathmandu Post, Kawartha Now, Vice, and CBC. Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries and art festivals throughout Canada, Nepal, and the UK, including the Contact Photo Festival and Nuit Blanche in Toronto. Anica volunteers her time with nature-based groups such as St. Luke’s Community Garden and Kawartha Land Trust and is currently completing her diploma in Horticulture at the University of Guelph.

Araura Marche’s, art practice and philosophy is inspired by a passion for nature and the overall well-being of the community. At age 10, she is the Creative Director for Growing Upright, an educational vertical gardening company that she operates with her neighbour, Anica. She is currently enrolled at St. Anne’s Catholic School.

Road Mural

Brooklin Holbrough’s Dragon Migration features a vibrant, friendly dragon accompanied by a community of multi-coloured birds.

Brooklin hopes her mural will:

“bring a burst of fantasy, joy and imagination to downtown Peterborough…People can dance down the dragon’s back or come face to face with the magical creature and its entourage of birds…As we safely enjoy the summer in the city, I want to give people permission to indulge in magical thinking. It’s so important to embrace play, imagination, and community: these are the things that get us through the hard times.” 

Brooklin Holbrough is an artist and illustrator based in Peterborough, her hometown. A recent grad with Distinction from OCAD University’s illustration program, much of her work explores the many ways mythology shapes our realities. As a freelance illustrator she develops children’s media, including picture books and graphic novels, and has published two children’s books. Brooklin’s curiosity and passion for creating art that ignites, excites, and heals has led her to expand her focus to murals and community art.

www.brooklinstormie.ca

 

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Site III

Gardens

Garrett Gilbart’s Field and Forest gardens comprises a series of screens depicting local plants and native species hand cut from sheet steel and installed alongside scavenged field stone, cedar rails and drought resistant plantings. As with much of his work, the silhouette renderings and organic elements in his gardens explore themes of nature, industrialization and the politics of land and being.

Garrett Gilbart is a draftsman, carpenter, welder, and fabricator who specializes in freehand torch cutting using a plasma cutter, a tool that is typically mounted on a computer-controlled CNC machine. Through handheld manipulation he achieves a more organic form and can work outside of the limits of the computers. In typical years Garrett participates in over twenty Arts and Craft Markets, outdoor exhibitions, and art fairs.

Garrett attended the Integrated Arts Program at PCVS and studied welding and fabrication at Sir Sanford Fleming. He holds a BFA in Intermedia from NSCAD University and completed a year’s study at The Gerrit Rietveld Académie in Amsterdam.

He works on metal fabrication projects, personal projects, and public art pieces from his studio and farm outside Peterborough.

burnisland.ca

Road Mural

Tia Cavanagh’s Miikaans touches on themes of inclusion, community and walking together.

“The meaning behind this design is derived from the Miikaans (feather) Teachings (the Anishinaabe teachings on life). The eagle feather represents the path we walk, and along the path there are seven stages of life: Birth, Puberty, Wanderer, Gifts, Life Purpose, Self-Actualization and Elderhood. The black design overlaying the feather is an illustration that is traditionally used to represent Miikaans. Along the paths, animal prints honour the animals that walked before and continue to. The coloured chevrons are derived from the pride flag (a more current one which includes trans colours and black and brown) and the four colours of the medicine wheel.”

Tia Cavanagh is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses paint, wood, fabric, sculpture, and projection in her practice. For her, storytelling, process, discovery, and new meaning are at the core of art making. With these aspects at the root, she continues to explore approaches and understanding through the creative lens of an Indigenous woman drawing upon Indigenous research methodologies. Originally from the northern shores of Lake Huron in Ontario, Tia has lived and studied in Peterborough, Montreal, and Toronto. She holds a BFA from OCAD University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Canadian and Indigenous Studies at Trent University.

tiacavanagh.com

 

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 Site IV

Gardens

Kollene Drummond and Naomi Duvall’s Food as Art gardens incorporate repurposed kitchen utensils and crockery, herbs, edible flowers, vegetables, and pollinator-friendly plantings to create a whimsical suite of planters exploring “connections between art, cooking, gardening and the aesthetic side of food plants.”

Each planter is distinct but complementary. Together they move the viewer through the preparation and sharing of a meal to relaxing afterwards.

  • Planter 1. Le Potager: A kitchen garden, planted into old cookware and crockery showcasing the beauty of various greens and culinary herbs.
  • Planter 2. Dinner Party: A table set for two, with a profusion of edible flowers planted into the dishware. Have a taste!
  • Planter 3. Dessert: A towering fountain-like planter with chocolate mint and other trailing plants, lollipop-like plants, and a mixture of candy-striped flowers and small fruits.
  • Planter 4. A Cup of Tea: A series of suspended teapots pouring out plants, all planted with herbs one might use for teas.
  • Planter 5. Beer Garden: Hops vines spill out of an old wooden cask, rows of wheat and barley grow in the remainder of the planter.
  • Planter 6. Smoking Garden: Bearberry plants grow beneath an assemblage of vintage and fanciful ashtrays.

Kollene Drummond is a local artist and gardener with a diverse background in landscaping, farming, cooking, teaching and the circus arts. She has co-created numerous pieces as a circus artist and performed in several shows with the Peterborough Academy of Circus Arts. Her gardening company, Well Grounded is entering its 8th season, designing, installing, and maintaining ecologically friendly, creative gardens in the Peterborough area. Whether involved in landscaping or art projects, time and time again, Kollene circles back to gardening, plants, and the natural world. She holds an Honours B.A from Trent University and a Sustainable Agriculture Certificate from Fleming College. 

wellgroundedgardening.com

 

Naomi Duvall is a regional actor, creator, feminist, and emerging playwright. Dance, puppetry, comedy, passion and honesty feature in her work, and she loves dogs. For the past several years, she has also worked with Kollene’s gardening company, Well Grounded and collaborated with her on several circus shows, including an outdoor production for Artsweek 2017.

Road Mural

Aaron Robitaille’s Hopscotch PTBO was inspired by the widely recognized abbreviation of Peterborough, “PTBO”, which she simplifies into geometric shapes and patterns to create a unique sense of motion that invites the community to experience it as a dance or puzzle.

“Born and raised in Peterborough, I find so much inspiration comes from my hometown. The past year has been quite the journey for most, especially for the creatives of our city. I want to offer this piece...to bring a sliver of colourful organization and amusement to the downtown. Hopscotch PTBO is a celebration of moving forward aiming to reinvigorate the community with the joy and movement of art.”

Aaron Robitaille is a graphic designer with over a decade of experience as a creative problem-solver and visual artist. A graduate of both the Ontario College of Art & Design(2014) and Fleming College (2020), she uniquely merges traditional and digital techniques. Her work covers a wide scope—including mixed-media abstract and realism painting, traditional anatomy illustration, unique installations, and sculptures, to broaching the digital realm developing visual identities, digital illustration, website design and more. Aaron’s artwork can be found in private collections across Ontario and on display in local businesses and schools.

www.aaronrobitaille.design

 

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Nogojiwanong Project

The Nogojiwanong Project is a two-phase collaboration undertaken in the spirit of kinship with local First Nations Indigenous Peoples in recognition of the 200th anniversary of Treaty No. 20.

In 2019 a series of interpretive panels highlighting the evolution of local treaties and inherent rights of Indigenous peoples was unveiled at a new gathering space in Millennium Park next to the Trans CanadaTrail. Plans for the second phase of the project include a Public Art installation synchronized with landscaping. The expected completion is late 2021.

Library Commons

"Your Story"the 4-metre-tall wooden sculpture now installed in the Library Commons was designed by architect-artist Patrick Li to evoke the cover of a book twisting in the wind. For Li the sense of movement created by the undulating fin like columns serves to make the sculpture feel alive, such that “each person who walks inside will have a chance to experience this fluidity and discover their own journey.” The sculpture was installed in 2019. 

 

rendered image of wooden sculpture 

UN Peacekeepers Monument 

The UN Peacekeepers Monument will be installed as part of the construction of the Louis Street Urban Park. The monument, designed by Studio F Minus, honours the men and women who have served overseas in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. 

rendering of mirrored sculpture


"The United Nations Peacekeepers Monument asks viewers to consider the borders and boundaries that define the world around us… A blue dotted line appears to float in the air, representing a border stretching all around the world…In Canada we experience borders like this one in an privileged way. We move freely through most boundaries—physical, political, and social—that we encounter in our lives. This freedom cannot be taken for granted. It is preserved for all Canadians by a small group of brave men and women who stand on guard in areas where these boundaries are tense, dangerous, and delicate.”   —Studio F Minus 

Public Art Proposal Guidelines

The following are guidelines meant to prompt an awareness of the areas of responsibility and other considerations to be addressed by artists who have the opportunity to create public art projects.

Considerations for public art proposals

Depending on the scope of the project, artists should be prepared to work with professionals, (including engineers, architects, landscape architects, fabricators, and others), and respond to technical questions about design, materials, structural integrity, finishes, dimension, weight, and maintenance. In most cases, these consultations will have budget implications over and above the costs of material and labour.

Budget and work plan

The project budget must cover all expenses related to the project, including (but not limited to) artist's fee(s); site preparation; technical considerations or consultation; engineering approval; materials; labour; fabrication; installation; insurance; permit fees; travel and accommodation; and all applicable taxes. Budgets that exceed the commission value will not be considered. A sample worksheet can be used as a general guide to preparing a proposal. Each project is unique and must be considered according to its own needs. Artists are responsible for ensuring that budgets are comprehensive and accurate. Artists-led teams must share the total commission.

A work plan will demonstrate how the project will be completed on time, within budget, and in compliance with applicable health and safety regulations.

Engineering

Public safety is a primary concern for the finished work. Proposals with structural elements must include an engineering review to ensure that the safety, structural integrity, longevity, and maintenance plans will meet performance standards.

Maintenance

A maintenance plan is required for all public art works. The plan should be developed with drawings and particulars on materials, suppliers, fabricators, etc. Specify which party, the City or the Artist, will be responsible for which aspects of ongoing maintenance, including the removal of any graffiti vandalism, as well as any additional costs for maintenance completed by the artist.

When choosing materials and structural elements, consider UV, pollution, wind resistance, and other factors in the environment. Anti-graffiti coating may be required.

Permits

Permits are generally required for building onsite, electrical and water connections, and street occupancy (for installation) unless City staff do the work. Permit costs need to be anticipated and included in the budget.

Drawings and certifications

Licensed architectural and engineering certifications are required on drawing and plans for projects with structural elements. It is best to obtain drawing specifications and quotations from an engineering firm for the initial budget. Any potential certification required should be reviewed with the City to determine who is responsible.

Insurance

Multiple parties are involved in producing public art projects. To protect these individuals, Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance of $5,000,000 must be obtained for the duration of the work. This includes liability for injury of the public and employees working on the project. The cost of this insurance could be up to $1,000 per year unless you already have insurance in place which can be upgraded to cover the project. Insurance should be included as part of the costs of the project. In particular circumstances, the insurance requirement may be waived and covered by the City or a contractor. If the artist is unable to secure insurance with their broker, the City may be able to assist through their provider. The artist will be responsible for the premium.

Proof of automobile insurance for vehicles used on the project is also a requirement.

If volunteer labour is used in the production of the artwork, a volunteer waiver form must be signed by all parties.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

As a contractor, you are required to have Workplace Safety and Insurance Board coverage for anyone who is working for you to fabricate or install the work. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board will help cover wage loss and medical expenses for anyone hurt while working on the project. You can also obtain coverage for yourself on the project. These costs can be included in the budget.

Safety

Artists and all personnel working on scaffolding or lifts must have or obtain appropriate heights training and fall arrest certification.

There must be a fall protection system in place when artists work from an elevation greater than 3 m (10ft) or where a fall from a lesser height involves unusual risk of injury. Fall protection systems may include: guardrails; fall restraint systems; fall arrest systems; or control zones.

Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)

If applicable, a valid HST number must be provided and HST included in budget amounts.

Administration

Administrative expenses may include phone/fax, printing, studio rental (over and above your normal work place), travel and accommodations etc. related to the project. If submitting from outside the city, county or province, increase the budget for site visits.

Additional information

Artists should take into consideration the following information when submitting a proposal:

  1. The jury and the City are not compelled to award the project based on the applications received.
  2. All submissions to Calls for Proposals become the property of the City of Peterborough. The artist shall retain copyright in the concept proposal. While every precaution will be taken to prevent the loss or damage of submissions, the City and its agents shall not be liable for any loss or damage, however caused.
  3. The Public Art Facilitator, in conjunction with participating City departments, will ensure all recommended proposals are reviewed prior to final selection for safety and liability compliance with City by-laws and requirements, technical feasibility, environmental impact, cost, maintenance, and other aspects as needed. If the recommended proposal raises any concerns, the Facilitator will contact the artist for more details. The Technical Review Committee looks at feasibility, maintenance, and other logistical details and does not make any final decisions nor do they review the work on an aesthetic basis. Final selection will not be made or announced until any question on these issues in resolved. If the City decides against selecting a proposal, City staff will notify the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Advisory Committee.
  4. The artists selected for the final commission will be required to enter into an agreement with the City of Peterborough, which will contain provisions including, but not limited to, rights of ownership, copyright, use, warranty, and insurance. The completed artwork will be the property of the City of Peterborough, but the moral and copyright remain with the artist. The selected artist will also be required to create a maintenance plan for the final artwork.
  5. Any amendments to the contract that deviate from what was agreed to must be requested in writing and submitted to the City for consideration. This includes requests for deadline extensions, additional funds, and design changes. Requests must state the effect on the budget and timeline. If approved, both parties sign and append a Change Notice to the service contract which updates the contract.

Public Art Refresh Survey

We completed a public art refresh survey in fall 2019. Feedback from the survey will help to create recommendations for improving our Public Art program and policy.

The survey followed an earlier engagement that targeted input from members of the Public Art Advisory Committee, the Arts Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee, relevant city staff and stakeholders in the arts community. Their feedback was used to create the survey.

Public Art Policy

The Public Art Policy, adopted in 2009, recognizes the role public art plays in creating culturally vibrant cities, identifies processes for generating and selecting projects and committees and commits an annual Public Art fund to maintain existing artworks and to commission new projects from artists across the country.