Riverside is getting a mural on the west-facing wall of Elbers Antiques at 777 Queen Street East. Long a neglected spot targeted by graffiti, this mural will help revitalize and brighten this area of the Riverside BIA, thanks to a City of Toronto mural grant.
Let us know what you think of the mural design here
About the Design
Bees as Pollinators:
The theme for this mural is bees and or urban pollinators. We have chosen this theme because Riverside has a lot of hidden green spaces that maintain wildflowers. In addition to this, there are also a number of local hives in the east-end, and a bee-keeping culture that has been shared with the community through Riverside’s guided walking tours. It further ties into Riverside’s sustainability approach, since urban hives are good for the city’s ecosystem, while also being unexpected oases of calm in the urban bustle. This is reflective of Riverside’s character: a neighbourhood that maintains a calmer small-town atmosphere in the middle of a busy urban centre. This theme enables us to provide an impactful and arresting imagery, while also covering up unsightly graffiti tagging.
Clocks and Time:
Time and watches is an homage to Riverside veteran board member and clockmaker Albert Edelstein, who had a huge impact in founding the Riverside BIA. It is also a symbolic reference Riverside’s Time Public Art series, created by artist Eldon Garnet. Riverside maintains two iconic clocks on the bridge and on the Ralph Thornton Centre, and this further connects to the historical significance of Riverside, which has strong historical legacy, while continuing to move forward in time as a vibrant neighbourhood. Edelstein as a jeweler and clockmaker is a great metaphor for the pollinator – someone working hard on tiny things with thousands of tiny moving parts, largely out of sight, just quietly working, but the things they produce, their work, has enormous effects outside the workshop. The gears represent small things working together to make big things happen – like bees in a hive or a neighbourhood community. Like clockmakers, pollinators are an important member of society and their toils must be given proper respect, because they play an essential role in the community in allowing it thrive and exist.
About the Artist
Artist Nick Sweetman:
Nick Sweetman is an independent, multidisciplinary artist from Toronto. He holds an MFA from OCAD University’s Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design program as well as a certificate from the Mural Routes Leadership Training in Mural-Making program. He has gone on to lead and contribute to numerous mural projects around the city from East to West, collaborating with many of Toronto’s best artists in the public realm, as well as partnering with several non-profit organizations on community projects and events. His studio practice has always been based in painting, but over the years his work has explored photography, video, installation, and a wide array of mixed media. He is interested in drawing attention to physical and conceptual sites of fracture and intersection between natural forces and human-designed objects and spaces. By this, he hopes to encourage consideration of our relationship with the planet and its non-human inhabitants. www.nicksweetman.ca