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Clarington downtowns to see installation of new public art this spring

Clarington February 19, 2020/- Clarington’s downtowns will soon become more vibrant thanks to decorative public art pieces that will be installed in Bowmanville, Courtice, Newcastle and Orono. The project is funded through a $110,000 grant from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). In 2018, Council decided the funding should be used for public art installations to enhance the visitor experience and the beauty of our downtowns.

Three local artists and a local company were selected to design the installations and through them, tell Clarington’s story.

Allan Bender of Blinc Studios has been selected to paint a mural on the west wall of the James Insurance building (26 King Street East), in downtown Bowmanville.

“Celebrating the accomplishments and influences of women from the Clarington communities is the theme of the mural I will be painting. My inspiration comes from the women … who have guided me and encouraged me throughout my life,” said Allan Bender.

In Courtice, Darlene Bolahood is creating a series of coloured polycarbonate silhouettes of local youth and members of the Courtice community. The artworks will be suspended from light poles at Tooley’s Mill Park and Trulls Parkette. Trail markers will also be created and installed throughout the local trail system.

“The themes of the installations will reflect the energy of the community and its narrative and (are a) tribute to the youth of our community and the notion of many styles of family in action,” said Darlene Bolahood.

Art concept of polycarbonate silhouettes
Photo above: Art concept of polycarbonate silhouettes.

James C. Smith has been selected to create a series of sculptures that will be installed in the gardens at the Newcastle Community Hall; the Clarington Public Library, Newcastle Branch; the Massey Building and A Gift of Art. The artist will incorporate a treasure hunt element into the sculptures in the form of subtle, intricate pieces that will be discovered upon close examination.

“I am very pleased to be a part of this initiative and … to contribute to Newcastle’s main street revitalization,” said James C. Smith. “I have long been enthusiastic about public art that is accessible to all and which aspires to involve and connect with the community,” added Mr. Smith.

Concepts of painter’s palettes and river rock sculpture.
Photos above: Concepts of painter’s palettes and river rock sculpture.

Orono has long been known as a cycling destination. To highlight this notion, ABC Recreation will provide artistic bike racks that will be installed throughout downtown Orono and in Orono Park. A sign outlining all available park amenities will be added to the main Buttercup Hollow sign located at the corner of Station and Main Streets. The new ‘Orono’ mural on the north façade of 5352 Main Street (formerly Orono Electric) was also paid for, in part, with the funding received from OMAFRA.

“ABC Recreation is excited for the opportunity to work with the Municipality of Clarington and promote active transportation through this artistic installation. Our custom bike rack design was inspired by the Orono Clock Tower, which is a landmark in the community and has historical significance that resonates with residents of all ages,” said Mike Kitchen, ABC Recreation Regional Representative.

Buttercup Hollow sign with park amenities, Orono mural
Photos above: Buttercup Hollow sign with park amenities, Orono mural painted by The Paint Factory

Concepts for each art installation were discussed and refined with input from the Community Improvement Plan liaison groups, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, A Gift of Art, and various groups involved in the site locations. The overarching concept is to create artworks that lead residents and visitors through the downtowns. Walking tour guides will also be part of the final products. Installation of the art projects will begin in the spring.

Concepts of each design will be unveiled at the Mayor’s Gala on Saturday, February 22, 2020. For event information or to purchase tickets, please visit


Media Contact:
Leanne Walker
Communications Specialist
905-623-3379 ext. 2217

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