Lots more public art to come in midtown: Matlow

Josh Matlow wants to paint his ward … well, all kinds of colours.

There are lots more drab areas of Toronto-St. Paul’s that would benefit from an artful sprucing up, the councillor said after admiring the recent work done on Bell boxes.

“We are looking at everywhere there is a redevelopment and we are always looking for opportunities to ensure that public art is an important component of that,” he said.

“I’m looking at areas of our ward like Little Jamaica to use the public ground better to reflect the culture identity of the neighbourhood and I’ve also been, as you’ve seen in past years, looking at parks and playgrounds.”

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He recalled how the Sharon, Lois and Bram playground transformed part of June Rowlands Park, adding colourful components to look like musical instruments along with creating a music garden.

“There are lots of opportunities for using the public space in a way that is just more creative, more vibrant, more fun, and I think just adds to the day-to-day quality of life,” Matlow said.

He admired the murals painted over the summer on the Bell Boxes in the St. Clair area, a project he and local community leaders were involved in creating.

Bell box
NEW LIFE: A formerly drab Bell box comes to live with a nature theme near the St. Clair subway station.

“These are a labour of love by artists who are contributing to the happiness and well-being of our community,” he said.

“We took on this project because there are utilitarian-looking Bell boxes throughout our neighbourhoods that, with some creativity, become canvases to reflect everything from our natural environment to the diversity of our city to, you know, humorous topics to put a smile on the faces of people who pass by.”

The biggest problem organizers had was that far more amazing artists submitted entries than could actually be used on the boxes.

“We just spent a lot of time going through dozens and dozens of submissions, most of which were just remarkable works. Really beautiful, fun, inspiring,” Matlow said. “And ultimately we came to arrive at choices that reflected a number of different tastes that would all be appreciated by people walking down the street.”

But, no worries. There should be plenty more work to come in midtown for those great public artists not chosen yet, if he has his way.