The corner of Yonge Street and Glengrove Avenue has been transformed with a splash of colour.
The intersection is no longer a “concrete canyon”, says mosaic artist Gerry Lavery, who has turned the graffiti tagged space into a spectacle that pedestrians and drivers alike are noticing.
The mosaic, which depicts the Glenview Presbyterian Church, acts as a sort of nameplate for the church just above it, which recently planted trees that block the view of the church from the street.
“It shows something to the people passing by that something exists there,” Lavery says, “It gives you a hint of what was there.”
Lavery embellished the original line drawing, which was designed by the city and the church as part of the city’s Beautiful Streets Program. Then over the course of 18 months he constructed the mural using a multitude of materials, including five types of stone, glass tiles and smalti. For him, the variety of materials was not only interesting but made the project a challenge.
“[The materials] all have very different thicknesses, different properties in terms of light and different richness in terms of colour,” he explains. “Where you want the light to catch against the [stone], you use smalti. It reflects light in all different directions.”
In addition to being a beautiful mural, the mosaic also has scripture on it from Jeremiah 29:7, (“Seek the peace of the city. When the city prospers, everyone prospers.”), something Reverend Derek Macleod of Glenview Church describes as inspirational.
“It’s not about the church, but the people surrounding it,” Macleod says. “It represents a community, a place where people have been gathering for over 80 years.”
Lavery says he’s very satisfied with the end result.
“If you look at it, it looks as though it is leaping out from the wall,” he says.
Many seem to be echoing this statement. Macleod says passers-by are all expressing their appreciation and enjoyment of Lavery’s new artwork.
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