A real photo opportunity - the Mayor will be on site Thursday to get his picture taken.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

June 17, 2104


The city decided to spend some of our tax money on gussying up parts of the city. Norton Park had a lovely stretch of wall that was just dying for the hand of an artist.

Through its public art program, the city selected artist collective, PA System (Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka), to install the mural in Norton Community Park.

“The mural will provide a sense of community pride in Alton,” said Scott Stewart, general manager of development and infrastructure. “We look forward to seeing the mural..” he said.

Art outdoors on a lovely late Spring day spells photo op – and sure enough the city’s media managers scheduled such an event.

Norton Park - mural

The is the eastern side of the wall. while we were photographing this collection of high school students from Hayden High happened along and we knew instantly that we had a real photo opportunity.

The Gazette frowns on photo ops just for the sake of getting your picture in the paper – but we thought the art was worth sharing with a wider public.  So we travelled up to Dundas to see how the northern half of Burlington lives and walked through the park to see what had been done.

You don’t have to walk very far to get the gist of the mural – colour – it just screams of colour on a wall that is easily 20 feet long and 10 feet high – with two sides to put paint on.

Artists were asked to consider student involvement, community diversity and the wide range of uses for the site in their concept development and installation process. The city’s public art program steering committee received 23 mural applications and shortlisted three artists: Charles Johnston, Lesia Mokrycke and PA System (Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson).

“Resident-submitted comments guided the jury’s selection and were considered in addition to artistic merit, technical considerations and student engagement around each finalist’s work,” said Angela Paparizo, the City of Burlington’s manager of arts and culture.

Burlington residents were able to view and comment on the proposals during Culture Days in September, at Haber Recreational Centre, and online. The community jury reviewed the feedback, including 340 comments, along with the artistic and technical merits of each proposal to make their selection.

“PA System’s past experience working with community members to create unique and inspiring murals is impressive,” said the jury’s statement. “The use of bold colours and patterns will create a year-round focal point for the park and the abstract nature of the design allows for a broad range of interpretations, allowing each viewer to connect to the work in their own way.”

Norton mural backside

It was built as a wall to shelter people from the wind and turned out to be a great place for a mural. This is the inside of the wall

About the Artists
PA System, which is comprised of artists Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson, have a broad background in community-based art projects, youth projects and mentorship. For the past 10 years, Hatanaka and Thompson have worked on a range of visual arts projects in the arctic. They have created numerous murals in the hamlets of Cape Dorset, Igloolik, Iqaluit and Hall Beach as well as in the Northern Quebec towns of Kangiqsujuaq and Kuujjuaq, and have facilitated youth projects at York University, the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, and the National Gallery.

Hatanaka and Thompson exhibit and paint murals across Canada and around the world. Their work can be seen in the Royal Ontario Museum, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona and the Guanlan International Printmaking Base.

The high school students who posed for our photo op thought it was great work and pulled out their cell phone and asked that we take pictures of them with the art work.
Real photo ops.

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2 comments to A real photo opportunity – the Mayor will be on site Thursday to get his picture taken.

  • James

    How much did we spend on that graffiti? I guess all the potholes, traffic problems, sewer upgrades, etc… have already been fixed, huh? Come on City Hall, if you’re just going to waste my money like that, I want it back.

  • Rob

    Money well spent.