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Burlington Signal Boxes have become public art

Burlington Signal Boxes have become public art

The public art program is continuing its annual Local Artist Program this year and has commissioned local artists who have created a variety of small to medium scale artworks throughout the community. The City has just installed the designs of 12 local artists on traffic control signal boxes throughout the city.

Artists were encouraged to submit artwork that focused on inspiring and uplifting the community during these challenging times. This artwork forms an urban art gallery that can be experienced by residents while still practicing appropriate social distancing.

Clover Akuoko-Dabankah, All Walks

I moved to Burlington a few years ago and when in a new city, I often like to walk around and explore new places. What endeared me was the diversity: the diversity in the land, the people, and the things to do. It’s been a joy to walk around and explore, and I’ve observed people from all walks of life doing the same in a place they feel safe and at home in. I wanted to capture the joy of ‘getting up and going’ through my artwork.

Holly Allerellie, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

My concept is based on the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I just finished reading. The main character, Francie, is a bit of a loner and feels everything so deeply. I imagined her house, fire escape and wallpaper, and wanted to bring the simple peace and joy of reading a good book to life. I hope my artwork inspires someone to want to sit beside her and share a moment of quiet under a tree.

Cody Boucher

My design is a collection of small fragments of my recent works, scattered together to form a single new piece. Over time I developed a prominent style I use in my hand drawn art which allows me to piece different drawings together in a “collage” style.  Many of these drawings were completed during the COVID-19 pandemic as I have found myself with more downtime than usual. This has been the strange new reality we all share.

Hannah Brown, Have a Nice Day

I decided to make my theme for this “Have a Nice Day” because years ago I would pass a bridge every day on my way to work, with some very amateur spray painted on it that said “Have a nice day”, and honestly, it made me happy to pass that every day. Living in a world with a lot of hate, fear, negativity and stress, it’s nice to find positivity in unexpected places. I want people to feel happy when they pass this, whether it’s just once, or every day during their daily routines.

Nicole Clouston & Quintin Teszeri

Our concept is a collage of enlarged plants curated from the local ecology. The wrap will serve as an uncanny camouflage for the box. It will visually merge the box with its organic environment by mimetically reflecting familiar plants from throughout Burlington. However, the wrap will also defamiliarize this flora through illustration and scale.  Although the represented plants are rendered in the scientific tradition of botanical illustration, they are not magnified for scientific purposes, but rather to draw attention to the liveliness of the site and the vibrancy of Burlington’s ecology.

Jason Diesbourg, Freeman Station

This design showcases one of the many inspirational and historic landmarks that make Burlington what it is today, Freeman Station. The concepts use a vibrant vintage poster style that celebrates these buildings and is reminiscent of the era these buildings were constructed. These beautiful old buildings were constructed by the brilliant minds of the past and stand as a reflection of human spirit, perseverance and resilience.

Hannah Doherty

My artwork concept explores how the community is closer, our engagement with nature has increased, and how the earth is healthier because of the pandemic. I approached this project wanting to create a piece that had the same message as the phrase, “when one door closes, another door opens”. I live near a creek and am neighbours with a family with younger kids. I was inspired to make this piece after seeing them play by the creek fishing for fish with a bucket every day during quarantine.

Janet Horne Cozens, Balancing Act

The polar bear as a spirit animal is a symbol of strength and courage. It helps one to stand up to the challenges of the world and not be overwhelmed by them. The koi fish are also considered a symbol of perseverance and adversity in Eastern Culture as well as a sign of courage in Buddhism. This polar bear is balancing precariously on a ball over a pond of koi, representing the balancing act that we have all been struggling with during the pandemic.  But the bear and the fish are both symbols of courage and work together to see us through any difficult times that we might encounter in this year of extraordinary challenges.

Heather Kuzyk, Urban Life

The concept of “Urban life” is a whimsical, anthropomorphic view of Burlington through the lens of indigenous fauna. Using bright, saturated pops of colour, and bold black and white subject matter, the concept is to convey four seasons in one day in a playful nod to Burlington’s diverse citizens as represented by the local wildlife population.  Urban Life hopes to capture the lighter side of life in our fair city in a way that is relatable to both young and the young at heart with a gentle reminder that we are stewards of this beautiful land we call home.

Tamara Kwapich, Summer Day

These trying times have brought out the best in our community.  Social distancing, working from home, supporting each other through wearing masks, food drives and caring for our most vulnerable, all of these necessary activities have made us rethink our priorities.  More and more we are slowing down, taking time to appreciate the simple things like baking bread, picking fruit, taking long walks.  My painting, Summer Day, depicts a moment of quiet solitude, the sun is shining, the fruit is ripe and there will be pie for dinner! Let’s enjoy the small moments.

Teresa Seaton

I have been translating the landscapes of Ontario in stained glass for over 20 years. My concept is to place this imagery onto the signal boxes of Burlington to remind its residence of the beauty that exists all around us. I have used stained glass vinyl before and the response has always been one of amazement. People will often confuse the vinyl with the real thing. The juxtaposition of something thought to be so fragile with something so pedestrian intrigues me. Not to distract people but, if they for a moment, question the beauty of what they are seeing with what it represents I will have achieved my goal. Our region has so many beautiful sights and scenes that most drive past so fast. I hope to create a moment of reflection.

Ryan Snook

The concept behind my work is to illustrate a vibrant, cartoon world showcasing some of best things our city has to offer. Great food, sports, The Sound of Music festival, our great libraries, and the RBG. All together on a landscape similar to our wonderful paths. The design responds to the diverse activities and people that enjoy our city and reflects them back using a cartoon world that brings out a playful nature.

To see the artwork online, please visit or @cityburlington on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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