By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement
Since 2014, Museum Week has been an online social media movement – 7 days, 7 themes, 7 hashtags. The Oshawa Museum has participated for many years, and 2021 has been no exception. The themes vary from year to year and often challenge me to think outside the box for ways that the OM can share content related to the theme, while other times, the themes are squarely in our wheelhouse and content for the day comes naturally.
The theme for Saturday, June 12 is #ArtIsEverywhereMW. This made me reflect on our community and art that can be found all over Oshawa.
We could start with the grand idea of ‘what is art?’ and consider the built heritage and historic buildings that survive in our community. Many churches spring to mind when thinking of architectural examples, as do our unique museum buildings, and buildings with rich histories, like the Regent Theatre.
If we consider art in the traditional form of paintings, looking around the downtown, one can find murals, new and old, adding colour and vibrancy to our community. I’ve always been partial to the mural by Tony Johnson, found on the side of Brew Wizards, on Celina Street, just south of Athol. Looking at the subject, it becomes obvious why it’s a favourite, with a turn of the century Lakeview Park and two of our houses being depicted. Murals came about as a result of the Downtown Action Committee of 1993. Their mandate was to co-ordinate improvements to the downtown area, and one of their first endeavours were the murals. They felt the murals would beautify the downtown, add interest, and instill civic pride. Five murals were completed by 1995; additional murals were completed by 1997. Murals continue to be added in recent years, the most recent being behind the Canadian Automotive Museum, part of the Signs of Life Mural Project, and created by local artists Dani Crosby and Chad Tyson.
Art doesn’t have to be ‘two dimensional’ as there are several sculptures around the community. In Lakeview Park, the Lady of the Lake statue has been a familiar site for over 60 years. The RMG has also added public art to the landscape around downtown, with installations like Upstart II (Meadmore), Group Portrait 1957 (Coupland) and Reverb (Harding). In fact, talking about Reverb might be one of my favourite parts of delivering the Downtown Walking Tour, as there are many different meanings and references that the artist, Noel Harding, captured with this impressive sculpture. Check out the RMG’s website to learn more about Reverb.
Art is everywhere in our community. I hope this might inspire someone to look a little closer at the beauty that can be found in Oshawa.