Kingston kicks off 2023 Crosswalk Mural Pilot Project with SPAF

Jaylene Cardinal (painting) and Dakota Ward (standing) install the first of five crosswalk murals as part of the City of Kingston’s Crosswalk Mural Pilot Project. Cardinal and Ward’s crosswalk mural is located at York and Alma Streets, at the southwest corner of McBurney Park (Skeleton Park), and being installed on Thursday, Jun. 22, 2023. Photo by City of Kingston staff.

Those wandering through the neighbourhood just north of Princess Street during Skeleton Park Arts Festival (SPAF) will have more than the live entertainment and vendors catching their eye this year.

That’s because the City of Kingston’s new Crosswalk Mural Pilot Project is kicking off in partnership with SPAF, which began yesterday, Wednesday, Jun. 21, and runs until the end of the day on Sunday, Jun. 25, 2023.

According to the City of Kingston, the Crosswalk Mural Pilot Project – which is supported through the City’s Public Art Program – will bring colourful new murals to crosswalks in neighbourhoods throughout Kingston.

“This initiative engages local artists to work with residents to design and paint a series of crosswalk murals, transforming parts of the roadway into works of art, helping to highlight the presence of pedestrians, incorporate public art into everyday life, and support community-based placemaking,” the City of Kingston said in a press release.

The pilot project will take place throughout the summer of 2023, and the City of Kingston will “review and assess the feasibility and opportunity to open the program up in 2024 to community groups and associations, businesses, organizations, and residents that wish to come together to create a crosswalk mural in their neighbourhood,” according to the City. For summer 2023, five crosswalk murals will be installed.

SPAF has partnered with the City on this initiative and will take the lead in creating and installing three crosswalk murals around McBurney Park (Skeleton Park) throughout SPAF. The Festival is working with artists Jaylene Cardinal and Dakota Ward, Floriana Ehninger Cuervo, Marney McDiarmid and Vince Perez.

“The Festival engaged neighbours through a workshop and drop-in session in McBurney Park to offer ideas, feedback and themes for the crosswalk murals,” the City said.

Outside the Skeleton Park neighbourhood, the City will be working with local artists Jillian Glatt and Sasha French to install two more crosswalk murals – one in the city’s east end, and one in the Rideau Heights neighbourhood – later this summer, and engagement opportunities through the City will take place in advance, allowing residents of those areas to participate in the design and installation processes.

“This pilot project offers an exciting opportunity to facilitate and support community public art projects, where artists and residents work together to create unique and original artworks that can be enjoyed and appreciated by all,” said Danika Lochhead, Manager of Arts & Sector Development for the City of Kingston.

“It’s great to be partnering with the Skeleton Park Arts Festival on this, as they have been delivering community-based public art projects since 2018 and have been strong advocates for creative placemaking and neighbourhood-level arts programming experiences.”

The City collaborated with Mural Routes to organize three workshops focusing on the creation and installation of ground and asphalt murals in an effort to support participating artists.

“This innovative initiative aimed to build capacity for the participating artists and provide insights and learnings on how to effectively facilitate and support community arts projects within neighbourhoods,” the City said.

Learn more about the City’s Public Art Program and sign up for the Arts & Culture Newsletter on the City of Kingston website.

For more information on SPAF, check out Kingstonist’s guide to the 2023 festival.

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