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Downtown Midland art project a nice break from bricks and mortar (21 photos)

“I feel privileged to have my art displayed downtown especially since I am a young artist,” young artist says

There's now a lot more to view in downtown Midland than just heavy machinery moving piles of rocks from points A to B.

Construction fencing along King Street now boasts a collection of original paintings created by 39 Simcoe County artists. The municipal initiative brings together artists from Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay, Tiny, Beausoleil First Nation, Orillia, Midhurst and Innisfil, ranging in age from 13 to some in their seventies.

Lafontaine resident Isabelle Pauzé was more than happy to participate.

“I feel privileged to have my art displayed downtown especially since I am a young artist,” the 14-year-old said. “I am proud that the painting I made represents Métis culture & the Métis history of our region.”

Midland resident Bridge Dewyze also jumped at the chance to take part in the exhibition.

“It was such a creative and uplifting project to undertake during this time of self-isolation and uncertainty,” said Dewyze, who incorporated her family when completing her panel. “Our whole family was able to participate in some way and find joy in the process.”

The goal of the town’s project is to beautify the downtown core during the King Street rejuvenation project and welcome shoppers back as stores and businesses begin to re-open.

“The paintings showcase the amazing talent that we have in our area and we thank all of the participating artists,” Mayor Stewart Strathearn said in a release.

“Given the long history of creativity and artistry in Midland, and with the current restrictions on accessing indoor spaces, the town is very excited for this opportunity to bring art outdoors for our residents to enjoy.”

The paintings will be on display until the construction fencing remains on King St. While the original intent was for a temporary art project, some panels may find a permanent home at the town dock’s harbour office.

As for the inclusion of Barrie-area residents in a local project, the original call-for-artists went out to those living in Simcoe County, Barrie and Orillia with “preference given to those who live in Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay, Tiny and members of Beausoleil First Nation.”

Selected artists were provided with two-foot-by-two-foot lightweight aluminum panels along with a few supplies. They also received a $75 honourarium to assist with the purchase of any additional supplies and as a thank you for taking part in the project.

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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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