The voting is over, the committee has chosen, and the awards have been presented but everyone’s a winner.
For the third straight year, the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre has partnered with the Niagara-on-the-Lake Communities in Bloom and NOTL Hydro to make Old Town just a little more beautiful. Three more hydro boxes have been wrapped in winning art works.
“The program started in 2019, and has since wrapped nine boxes with works by established and emerging artists from the Region. The 2021 call for submissions kicked off in June and received an unprecedented number of entries,” explained Aimee Medina, Marketing Coordinator for the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre.
On Oct. 28th, the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre hosted a small COVID-responsible presentation to celebrate the selected works. In attendance were two of the winning artists, Lynne Gaetz and Elaine Bryck, as well as members of the Hydro Box Beautification committee: Tim Curtis, president of NOTL Hydro, Vicky Downes, chair of Communities in Bloom, and NOTL Lord Mayor Betty Disero. In addition to having their art selected, each artist received a $500 honorarium.
Gaetz was happy to have her mixed media piece, Entangled Lives, gracing the hydro box on Wellington Street. “I am thrilled that my work was chosen to appear on a hydro box near the Shaw Theatre, and I am grateful to the committee that chose my work. The team that wrapped the boxes did an amazing job,” she enthused.
This award-winning artist is a newcomer to the area. “My husband and I are recent arrivals in this town, so receiving this honour was a wonderful welcome. In addition to beautifying the town, Hydro’s initiative helps draw attention to our local artists. The paintings on the boxes are a reminder that in addition to wine and theatre, NOTL has a vibrant visual arts community.”
Also in attendance at the ceremony was Elaine Bryck, who also entered a mixed media piece. This self-taught artist uses “unconstructed improvisation” as her favoured technique. Her cleverly titled work, On With The Show, is performing on a hydro box on the corner of Picton and Wellington Street, near the Shaw Festival Theatre.
“I was thrilled to win the honour of being included in this project, along with the other two outstanding artists,” said Bryck. “The program called for bold and colourful entries and the response was tremendous. These three hydro boxes will certainly brighten the area and bring art to the forefront in NOTL. This type of outdoor art is catching on all over Ontario with many municipalities and cities joining in to beautify their streets and add aesthetic value to their communities. I hope that one day, an outdoor walking tour can be developed to showcase the many hydro boxes that have been completed,” she suggests.
Although not able to attend the ceremony, abstract artist Brittany Blyth-Williams expressed her appreciation to those involved in the project. “I was filled with immense joy and gratitude when I found out I was one of the winners of the hydro box competition. It is a true honour to be recognized in this way, especially as an emerging artist,” she said. “This initiative not only brightens up the already vibrant town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, but also enhances our community spirit and inspires all forms of artistic contribution. I did a happy dance in my kitchen when I found out and look forward to channeling that positivity into many more colourful pieces. Many thanks to the town’s Communities in Bloom Committee, NOTL Hydro, and the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre.”
Blyth-Williams’ vibrant work, Paint the Town, charms the hydro box on Queen’s Parade.
All of the entries for the Hydro Box Beautification Project are on display in the Walker Room Gallery of the Niagara Pumphouse. The show is open to the public and runs until Nov. 25, 2021. For more information, visit niagarapumphouse.ca or call 905-468-5455 for details.