Local youth work on creating the Ottawa River portion of the Youth Mural Mosaic Project which will be installed on the Family and Children’s Services building on Isabella Street this fall. There are two upcoming mosaic building workshops where youth and community members can contribute to the pieces.
Submitted photo / jpg, PM
After months of brainstorming, planning and designing, the Youth Mural Mosaic Project is now in the creation stage.This project, like the creation of the Dreamer mural at the Salvation Army Youth Centre in 2017, is being led by artist Megan Spencer of the Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio (OVCAOS). She met with area youth earlier this year to gather ideas and themes for the mural and with the help of youth intern Kat Belaire they developed a final design after receiving feedback. The mural will be done in sections, which were build in June and some of the tiles have already been added.The mosaic mural will include two sections measuring 1.2 metres by 2.4 metres each. Although they will be separate, they will relate to each other with one half depicting the sunrise and the other half depicting the sunset. The Ottawa River will also be featured prominently, Spencer noted.
This is a closeup on one of the the sunrise rays of the mural mosaic project.
Submitted photo /
While the initial hope was to install the finished mural on the Phoenix Centre building in Downtown Pembroke, that plan fell through and now once completed the mosaics will be installed on the front of the Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County building at 464 Isabella St.“We are happy to contribute to the vital outdoor art community that already exists in Pembroke,” Spencer said. “With the community engagement piece, those involved feel a sense of ownership because they have contributed.”She is also happy that youth who were involved in the indoor mural are involved with this project as well because it is much different from the painted mural.Now youth and other members of the community will have additional opportunities to contribute to the project. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 30 to Aug. 3 the mosaics will be set up at Studio Dreamshare in Downtown Pembroke (18 Pembroke St. West) for people to drop in and help install some of the tile pieces.Although the project is youth focused, Spencer said anyone is welcome to stop in to watch the process, cut tiles or help add to the mosaics.“Anyone can add a piece and contribute to the project, then the elements come together as one,” she added.She said with the painted mural, even if people added only a couple of strokes, they still felt a sense of ownership of the mural.“It is really powerful to feel you contributed and helped to create something so beautiful,” Spencer said.She explained the key to creating the mosaics was keeping the design simple, but using the ideas gathered from the youth. And while creating the mural is a detailed job close to the piece, during the design phase it was also important to think of what it would look like from a distance and plan the colours carefully for the greatest impact.With a woman looking off dreamily on one side of the mural, it is meant to depict the idea of a young person reflecting on many different questions and how they can make their mark on the world.“They have so much energy to make changes and have an impact,” Spencer said. “It is a simple idea, but we want to create something that creates a sense of hope, ideas and inspiration with lots of great colours.”For anyone who would like to be involved in the mural mosaic project but can’t make it next week, there will be other sessions from Aug. 26-30, also from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at Studio Dreamshare.
Kat Belaire, youth intern on the Youth Mural Mosaic Project, works on the Ottawa River mosaic at Studio Dreamshare in Downtown Pembroke.
Submitted photo /
This project is supported by mentorship from accomplished Toronto-based artist, Anna Camilleri, co-artistic director of Red Dress Productions, which led the Countdown Public Art Project in Renfrew County in 2016 and is dedicated to supporting community arts in the Ottawa Valley. The project is also supported by partners the City of Pembroke, the Phoenix Centre and the Renfrew County Youth Network.The Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio is a not-for-profit community arts organization, founded in 2011. Its mandate is to promote the integration of visual arts, music, drama and other creative arts into the lives of individuals, families and communities in the Upper Ottawa Valley. It works in partnership with local cultural and service organizations to bring people together to explore their stories, images, and creative possibilities.TPeplinskie@postmedia.comTwitter.com/TPeplinskie