You may have noticed Peterborough’s downtown looking a bit different this season, with extended patios and pedestrian-only areas.
Well soon, Hunter Street will be getting another facelift. The popular downtown destination is about to become home to four new road murals and garden art installations.
“It is part of the project Renaissance on Hunter,” said Wendy Trusler, public art facilitator for the City of Peterborough. “It is comprised of two distinct projects. One is the artist garden project and one is the road mural project.”
She said the road murals and garden art will cover four road sections that are reserved for foot traffic only. The art is meant to add vibrancy to the space and help people navigate the area.
“One mural will be a canoe at this end and a kayak at this end … with stepping stones that are leading toward a picnic area with a colourful table cloth and different meals that are representative of the nations in our community,” she said.
A little further down the road, Trusler said a dragon is planned, where people can step along its back or hop along the birds that will be flying around it.
“I love public art because it really defines a space,” she said. “It often becomes a gathering space for people.”
Along with murals, various works of garden art will also be included in the space.
Peterborough Mayor, Dianne Therrien, said on the city’s website, “As we enter and navigate the pandemic recovery together, the hope is that the artist’s gardens will also support mental well-being and help us initiate much-needed conversations to let healing begin.”
The project is set to begin in July.
A little further down on Hunter Street, the doors at Atelier Ludmila Studio are now open. Artistic director Laurel Paluck said she is excited to invite people into the space again.
“It is very exciting for me as a curator to see people engage with art again and with each other. And having all of those conversations and dialogues — honestly, it makes my soul sing,” Paluck said.
She is featuring an exhibit by local artist, Anita Murphy, one she had planned pre-pandemic.
“The paintings are done in oil and watercolour and her subject matter is women artists, her friends, who are over the age 55,” she said. “It is a real celebration of female creativity and female wisdom.”
Paluck said the pandemic has had a significant impact on the arts community, with many struggling to make ends meet. But she said online sales are up and she has noticed a renewed appreciation for art in the community.
Trusler said she has also noticed an increase in interest for public art.
“There has really been a drive for public art,” Trusler said. “Not only by the city but also by the DBIA — the First Friday initiative has helped with it, as well. I think people are realizing how important art is and how important artists are.”
Atelia Ludmila is a regular stop on Peterborough’s First Friday Art Crawl, a self-guided gallery tour that has patrons weave through different studios and creative spaces in Peterborough’s downtown on the first Friday evening of each month.
During the pandemic, virtual shows and sales were a placeholder for the event, but now Paluck said they are able to ease back into the monthly event.
“We are doing contact tracing, ensuring only five people are in at a time,” she said. “I just love being here and watching people come through. It is pretty special.”