Seven hand-crafted tree sculptures now on display at local businesses
A vibrant new public art installation was unveiled in the village of Craighurst. Seven tall colourful metal tree sculptures are now on display outside local businesses for all to enjoy. The new outdoor art pieces, which have been individually painted by select local artists, will be in place for the next year as part of an initiative to enhance public spaces and draw visitors to local businesses.
Mayor Harry Hughes commented that “it is wonderful to see the tree sculptures unveiled for the enjoyment of residents, business owners, and visitors to our community. The extraordinary talent of local artists has shone brightly through each and every art tree, with reflections of the natural beauty and the rich history of Oro-Medonte. Please make time to take the self-guided tour and experience the public art project for yourself. Thank you to the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, and all participating agencies, for providing this exceptional opportunity for the Township of Oro-Medonte, and communities across southern Ontario.”
The vibrant metal tree sculptures are now on display outdoors at the following local businesses: Craighurst Guardian Pharmacy, Loobies Restaurant, Corner Gas, Foodland, Dwellings, HQ Restaurant & Tap House/Chelsea Chocolates and a corner lot at the intersection of Penetanguishene Rd (Highway 93) and Horseshoe Valley Rd (County Road 22).
Recently local residents, artists and dignitaries gathered to mark the official launch of the art trees project. The new art trees of Oro-Medonte have been well-received by community members, who can walk around the village to view the painted sculptures and learn the meaning behind each piece.
The art project includes works from: Tanya Cunnington, MJ Pollak, Marlene Bulas, Margaret Ferraro, Kathryn Kaiser, Angela Aujla and Paul Baxter. The seven artists who painted the metal sculptures were carefully selected by a panel of judges. Each brought their own perspective and artistic style to the project. There is also a smaller travelling tree sculpture that was designed by Meg Leslie, who is also the Project Coordinator.
The sculptures in the shape of trees were erected as a nod to the pristine and diverse forests of Oro-Medonte. The artists selected to participate in this installation all have meaningful connections to Oro-Medonte and its woodlands. Each artist was asked to submit in their application their inspiration for their submission, more details on this can be found on the website along with each artists name.
Artist Marlene Bulas explains how her connection to the area became the inspiration behind her particular piece: “I am depicting historic buildings in Oro~Medonte but it is also my personal and family history growing up in the area.” After the launch event Marlene shared, “I will always remember and be grateful for this very special time. Thank you everyone!”
Artist Tanya Cunnington’s childhood experiences in Mount St. Louis inspired her colourful piece: “I lived in Oro-Medonte for over 20 years when I was young and love the landscape of the area. I spent many years exploring it by foot, bike and later by car.”
Growing Community Pride
The art trees project was funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) through a successful application process. Economic Development Advisor Jennifer Whitley, was looking for a way to re-connect the community and encourage more visitors to stop in Craighurst and support the local businesses. She was excited to receive approval for the project working closely with Township staff, local businesses and the community to get the project off the ground. Whitley shared, “It was a very important piece of the project to have the artist complete the tree based on inspiration of Oro-Medonte and our beautiful landscapes, connection to nature and the rich history. Each tree is so unique and helps to share our community story.”
Local artist Meg Leslie was hired to coordinate the project, a competitive process was undertaken for the design and fabrication of the metal trees. David Smith of Oro-Design & Manufacturing was the successful contender for designing and manufacturing the seven-foot metal sculptures. Each artist was then selected through a juried process, and given one month to complete their art piece.
Meg Leslie explains how the project unfolded at a local level: “We had incredible and creative submissions choosing artists for the seven trees. Each artist received an honorarium and we have been so impressed with each artist as we have seen the project take shape. All these pieces serve to brighten the village centre and make Oro-Medonte an even better place to live. ”
As a local resident noted, “This public art installation gives me the feeling that people here care.”
Stay & Play in Oro-Medonte
One of the goals of the project is to provide a positive economic impact in the community and increase foot traffic in Craighurst. People who visit the new art installation are encouraged to check out local shops & restaurants in the immediate area and stay awhile and enjoy the many attractions and opportunities one can find in Oro-Medonte. We hope residents will bring the friends and family and visitors can pla a trip to see the Craighurst art tree installation as a jumping off point to visit Oro-Medonte’s many enticing attractions.
For more information on the art trees project please visit https://www.oro-medonte.ca/art-trees
Photography by Deb Halbot
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