Artfully bridging time

Retired art teacher helping brighten Christie and Dupont

For senior Barbara Bunting life, is a blank canvas begging for a splash of colour.

The 89-year-old local resident is leading the charge to paint murals at a pedestrian bridge at Christie and Dupont. And this is not the first time the retired art teacher has coordinated efforts to beautify the area.

Four years ago, about 47 residents, mostly seniors plus some other volunteers and high school students, spent four months painting a sunflower mural that Bunting designed. She and other residents from Christie Gardens are in the process of redoing the sunny image a second time.

The mural was recently destroyed due to the city’s reconstruction of the deteriorating concrete along the pedestrian bridge, said Councillor Joe Mihevc.

The city has completed work on the west side but still needs to fix the eastern portion of the bridge wall, he said.

“The day after the contractor left, the seniors from Christie Gardens were out there redoing the northwest side of the mural,” said Mihevc. “They are 85–90 years old and they are so committed to their mural.”

Indeed, the first time it took four months to complete, Bunting said. This time around the redo should be finished by October.

“We came in early today because it looked like it might rain,” Bunting said July 28. “If it did, it would wash this morning’s paint off.

“We go out for two hours at a time and don’t go out everyday,” added Bunting, who will be 90 in March. “We are getting up in age.”

Bunting taught art at William Lyon Mackenzie CI for 10 years but, she said, between teaching and raising three children, she never had time to become an artist herself.

Her children are now adults and Bunting has six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren in her flock.

The new sunflower mural is something she is leaving behind for that next generation to admire.

About this article:

By: Kris Scheuer
Posted: Aug 6 2009 11:34 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto