Kirsten McCrea, Electric City mural detail
Following a national call for proposals and a juried review process, Artspace and the City of Peterborough are pleased that Kirsten McCrea has been chosen to complete the first mural for the Hunter Street Bridge Mural Project in Peterborough, Ontario.
McCrea’s mural is the an exciting first step in the Hunter Street Bridge Mural Project. McCrea is a Toronto-based visual artist with an accomplished history of large-scale mural and public art projects. For this inaugural mural McCrea has draw on the community’s rich history by recreating imagery from the City’s Coat of Arms. Speaking to her inspiration for the project, McCrea states:
“Peterborough is one of the few cities in Canada to have an authentic coat of arms with exclusive right to its use. Every element in the coat is deeply symbolic: the colour green represents the Emerald Isle from which so many early settlers to the region emigrated, swords refer to the British soldiers who were granted tracts of land as compensation for fighting in the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, and the wavy blue and white bars signify the Otonabee River. That being said, the coat of arms was created before Peterborough had the opportunity to grow into the city it is today. The coat does not include symbols of Peterborough’s rich Indigenous history, nor does it reference the many recent immigrants whose numerous cultures are present in the region now. I want to incorporate new elements that reflect contemporary Peterborough.”
Following an extensive undertaking to renovate and restore the Hunter Street Bridge McCrea’s mural will be the next step in the continued re-invigoration of the iconic Peterborough bridge. McCrea’s mural has been installed on the underside of the most easterly archway of the bridge, encompassing the entirety of the archway’s walls and vault. The artist’s re-interpretation of classic as well as lesser-known Peterborough cultural symbols will be a welcome addition to Peterborough’s rich public arts programme.
The Hunter Street Bridge Mural Project is funded by the City of Peterborough’s Public Art Program. Artspace has been contracted by the City’s Arts Culture & Heritage Division to coordinate this initiative. The City’s Interim Public Art Committee, chaired by Bruce Stonehouse, of the City’s Arts Culture & Heritage Advisory Committee, has endorsed the jury’s selection.
Born in Edmonton, AB, Kirsten McCrea is a Canadian artist who landed in Montreal for a few years en route to her current home in Toronto. In Montreal McCrea honed her drawing skills in the city’s bustling collaborative art scene, creating large scale murals alongside dozens of artists, occasionally indoors but often in the city streets.
At the core of McCrea’s practice is the idea that art is for everyone. McCrea’s multi-disciplinary art practice encompasses painting, drawing, print, and publishing, with an eye to bright colours, temporal experiences, and accessible endeavours. In 2008 McCrea founded the affordable art subscription Papirmass, which has sent 50,000 prints by 100+ artists and writers to thousands of people around the world.
Named one of the Top 30-Under-30 artists in Canada by Blouin Artinfo, McCrea’s work has exhibited in Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario, Montreal’s Musée des Beaux Arts, and many private galleries, and has appeared in numerous publications, including The Globe and Mail, Canadian Art, The National Post, and BUST Magazine.
McCrea has painted dozens of murals and outdoor public art installations around the world, most recently as one of six artists representing Canada at the Shanghai International Arts Festival. Recently, McCrea created a 2,600 square foot paint-by- numbers for Telus’ Social Art Rally, and wrapped a pillar in bold contemporary pattern as part of the Pan Am Games Live Art Festival in Underpass Park (Toronto).
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