Main Street Mural Project

Phase 2 – apply now!

Deadline: Wednesday, January 8 at noon
Download the full Call to Artists

Artist opportunity

The City of Guelph invites established Canadian muralists with exterior mural experience to submit their credentials, examples of prior experience and a preliminary vision for the development and execution of one of two site-specific, outdoor murals as part of Ontario’s Main Street Revitalization Initiative.

For this project there are two separate, yet connected, sites on the City of Guelph’s East Parkade wall facing Woolwich Street. While artists are able to submit qualifications and letters of intent for both sites, artists or artist collectives will only be awarded a single commission and one artist or collective will be selected per site.

This call follows a two-stage selection process. The first stage is a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). Design concepts are not required at this time. Back to top

Background

The City of Guelph has received one-time funding from Ontario’s Main Street Revitalization Initiative to support and benefit rejuvenation, redevelopment, renovations and enhancements to revitalize main streets.

As directed by City Council, funding will be implemented through a competitive applications process to develop murals at various locations, specifically for the purpose of animating public spaces that support downtown tourism destinations.

This is Phase two of the funding implementation. Phase one was launched in December of 2018 and saw four new murals installed along Wilson Street in downtown Guelph. For more information visit guelph.ca/mainstreet.

#RoyalCityWings by Pellvetica

Pellvetica was selected for the Farmers’ Market sidewall. Sandy and Steve Pell, a husband and wife duo from Kitchener, have created a monarch mural called #RoyalCityWings – a tribute to pollinators and a nod to Guelph’s nickname, “The Royal City.”

As it’s Written by Cheka Creative Inc.

Cheka Creative Inc. (Alex Kwong and Sergey Ryutin) from Calgary created this mural on a wooden inlet on the side of City Hall over the Labour Day weekend. The mural, entitled, “As it’s Written,” features Guelph’s founder, John Galt, and a young fawn, representing both nature and the original peoples of this land, the Attawandaron, who called themselves, “The People of the Deer.”

Cultivation by Kenneth Lavallee

Lavallee, a Métis artist from Winnipeg was awarded the east underpass wall. His design, entitled, “Cultivation,” was inspired by his research of the history of Guelph, specifically the traditional territories of the Attawandaron whose land was described as a ‘community of longhouses surrounded by fields of corn.’ Lavallee’s mural uses a simplified graphic style inspired by pictograms depicting the earth, sun, water, cycles of time, seasons and days of the week.

While simple in design, Lavallee wants the general message of the mural to describe that through hard work and effort, good results will happen – like the old adage says, “you reap what you sow.”

In Flight by Emmanuel Jarus

Jarus, from Toronto, was selected for the west underpass wall. His mural, entitled “In Flight,” features a variety of birds creating movement across a vivid blue sky, celebrating Guelph’s diversity. He hopes to encourage the fundamental human aspiration to move freely and dream greatly through this installation.


Municipal context

The City of Guelph, founded in 1827, is a vibrant community of over 134,000 people. Recognized as the fourth fastest growing city in Canada, it is located in the heart of southern Ontario, just 100 kilometres west of Toronto, Ontario.

Guelph is situated on treaty land that is steeped in rich indigenous history and home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis people today. Archaeological evidence indicates Indigenous Peoples were present in the area now known as Guelph as early as 11,000 years ago. Up until the 15th century, the Anishinaabe people lived, farmed, and hunted in the Guelph area before their settlements moved closer to present-day Hamilton. At one point, the local First Nations population was estimated to number 30,000. Today, the people of Guelph reside on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit of the Anishinaabek Peoples, from whom this land was purchased by the British in 1784, as Upper Canada Treaty No. 3, 1792.

Guelph is best known for its historic downtown characterized by 19th-century limestone buildings, its strong focus on research and development in the agriculture field, and its dynamic festival and event scene. The City is rich in culture, architecture, parks and riverside green spaces and is home to a vibrant arts community as well as significant cultural and educational institutions.

Location

The following sites have been identified for public art murals. Please identify which site you are applying for in your Letter(s) of Intent.

  1. Site 1: Left parkade wall
    • 16 by 24 feet = 384 square feet
    • Completed remotely using 12, 4 by 8-foot aluminum composite panels. Installation done by third party and organized by City.
    • Budget: $18,000
  2. Site 2: Main parkade wall
    • 28 by 20 feet = 560 square feet
    • Completed remotely using 14, 4 by 10-foot aluminum composite panels. Installation done by third party and organized by City.
    • Budget $25,000.

Site 1

Site 2

Site history

Woolwich Street appears early maps of Guelph making it a key artery in the City since its founding as a planned town by Scottish novelist, John Galt in 1827.

Galt, superintendent of the Canada Company, a land company based in London England, laid out an imaginative town plan, with streets radiating from a focal point, a design based on American precedents such as Buffalo, and New York. The original layout is still discernible in the downtown core. The town’s name honours Britain’s royal family, the Hanoverians, who were descended from the Guelfs, one of the great political factions in late medieval Germany and Italy. Guelph was first incorporated as a village in 1851, and incorporated as a town soon after in 1856.

Today, this main street, which borders the edge of downtown, will take you from the spot where Guelph was founded, to the edge of the city. Along your way, you’ll pass historic churches, established restaurants and businesses, and new condo developments and non-profit housing existing together along the same block.

“Plan of the Town of Guelf, Upper Canada, Founded by the Canada ompany 1827”

The East parkade’s East wall runs along Woolwich Street. It is four levels high and has space for 330 vehicles. It is quite busy on nights where there are events on in the downtown.

Speed Skating Rink

The site faces John Galt Park and the façade of the Speed Skating Rink, which opened in 1882 along the Speed River. It was considered one of the most beautiful arenas in the province when it was built by John Day, a Guelph architect who also designed the Petrie Block and the Manor, former home of Guelph Mayor, George Sleeman.

Bought by Guelph Junction Railway in 1888, it was only in operation for about 5 years before tracks were installed behind it and it became a warehouse. In 1991, the building was destroyed by fire. Stones from the front of the building were kept for reconstruction of a façade in the parkland in beside it and the site of the rink is now occupied by the River Run Centre, Guelph’s performing arts centre.

Speed Skating Rink on fire

Photo of burning building, courtesy of Don Coulman

River Run Centre

Construction of the new centre began in 1995 and River Run officially opened on October 4, 1997.

River Run Centre was conceived and built by the people of Guelph for the benefit of the community and designed to serve as a premier stage for concerts, musicals, plays, dance, family shows and much more. Hundreds of volunteers and donors were involved in bringing the dream to reality.

The murals will be visible from the Centre’s lobby, known as Canada Company Hall.

The Sleeman Centre

The parking structure is attached to The Sleeman Centre, originally named, The Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre. This modern, 5,000-seat facility hosts sporting and family events, trade shows, conferences, large-scale concerts and public ceremonial events.

Since opening its doors in September 2000, the Sleeman Centre has served as home to the Guelph Storm; since 2009, the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Guelph Hurricanes; and since 2019, the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Guelph Nighthawks.

Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

Sleeman Breweries is Canada’s third largest national brewery. Sleeman’s brewing tradition in Canada extends back to 1834 when John H. Sleeman arrived in Ontario from Cornwall, England. By 1851, he started the first Sleeman brewery to be located in Guelph, Ontario, brewing small 100-barrel batches. More information can be found at sleemanbreweries.ca/our-story.

Supreme Full Service Carwash

The carwash and parking lot that sit beside this parking structure have been in operation since 1953. It was the second car wash in Guelph at the time and employees washed and detailed vehicles by hand until the early 70s.

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Project overview and design parameters

The artwork for the Main Street mural project should support the vibrancy of the location and help enhance the sense of place, while beautifying the streetscape.

The artwork in these public spaces should celebrate community spirit and take into account the neighbourhood’s identity and the cultural, historical, and natural attributes of the site.

The artwork must adhere to the following design parameters:

  • be an outdoor mural installation, suitable for exhibition in a public space
  • support revitalization and economic activity
  • be appropriate for the site in scale, execution, materials and creativity
  • must not promote violence, hatred or contempt against any group on the basis of colour, race, ancestry, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age, language or disability
  • must not include business names/logos, branded tags, acronyms, or any commercial advertising

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Expectations of artist and eligibility

Expectations

Expectations of the successful artist(s) include, but may not be limited to:

  • develop a project concept, budget and a detailed design
  • oversee production of the artwork
    • The artist will be responsible for the preparation of the surface to ensure strong adhesion for durability and longevity. This will include a primer and other preparation necessary for the optimum bond of materials to, and protection of, the respective surfaces (i.e. cleaning).
  • provide a warranty for the work (minimum 5 years)
  • exercise safety and caution while working, utilizing personal protective equipment as necessary
  • provide the City a General Liability Insurance Certificate, adding the City of Guelph as additionally insured up to two (2) million dollars

Notes:

  • City of Guelph will pay for costs related to the promotion of this project
  • City of Guelph will apply an anti-graffiti coating once the mural has been installed
  • The City of Guelph will pay for all costs related to the installation of the artwork

Eligibility

This RFQ is open to professional artists and artist collectives with experience creating exterior mural works.

Successful applicants must demonstrate the professional capacity to oversee the design, implementation and production of a mural project for the City of Guelph.

As per the Canada Council’s guidelines, a professional artist is defined as someone who “has specialized training in the artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions), is recognized as a professional by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition), is committed to devoting more time to artistic activity, if possible financially, and has a history of public presentation or publication.”

Individuals who are members of the City’s council or employees of the City are not eligible to enter. In order to be eligible for this competition, entrants must be 18 years of age or older.

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Budget and timeline

Budget

There are two separate budgets, one for each site. Each budget includes, but is not limited to, costs associated with the creation and implementation of the mural project:

  • artist fees (including artist design, research and administration)
  • assistant fees
  • studio rental costs
  • travel-related expenses (including accommodation)
  • concept plan and renderings
  • all materials (except for the anti-graffiti coating, which will be provided by the City)
  • fabrication and construction
  • freight, transportation and shipping
  • documentation, video and photography
  • insurance and taxes
  • contingency
Location Budget
Site 1: left parkade wall $18,000
Site 2: main parkade wall $25,000

Disbursements will be made throughout the project as follows:

  • An initial payment of 80 per cent will be paid within two weeks of a signed letter of agreement and proof of insurance naming the City of Guelph as additionally insured up to 2 million dollars
  • A final payment of 20 per cent will be paid at installation/completion

Estimated timeline

The anticipated schedule for selection of an artist/artist collective and completion of the project is outlined below. The City reserves the right to modify these dates as required.

Project phase Date
RFQ issued November 25, 2019
RFQ submission deadline at noon January 8, 2020
Short-listed artists selected and invited to submit proposals for Stage Two January 31, 2020
Stage Two deadline at noon February 18, 2020
Final selection February 28, 2020
Design development/production/fabrication Beginning March 2020
Installation/completion End of April 2020

Application deadline

All submissions to this RFQ are due on or before Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at noon.

Submissions must be sent in a single PDF.

Incomplete applications or those received after the deadline will not be accepted.

Please note: application materials will not be returned.

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Selection committee, process and criteria

Selection committee and process

All applications submitted under this RFQ will be reviewed by the City’s Council-appointed Public Art Advisory Committee. City Staff representatives are involved as non-voting members.

The commissioned artwork will be chosen through a two-stage selection process:

  • Stage One: Selection Committee will review submissions and select a maximum of three (3) short-listed artists, based on qualifications, for each site.
  • Stage Two: Short-listed artists will receive honoraria to develop their concept proposals and renderings/concept designs for consideration.

Selection criteria

Stage One applications will be assessed based on qualifications, conceptual approach and experience.

Stage one criteria
    • Letter of Intent – Artist’s vision, approach and insight is appropriate for the project.
    • Artist qualifications – Professional experience demonstrates ability to execute an outdoor mural project of this scale while adhering to budgets and timelines.
    • Artistic excellence – Examples of artist’s work reflect relevance, innovation, originality and skilled technique.
Stage two criteria
    • Appropriateness of proposal/renderings/design concept to project goals.
    • Artistic merit of proposal/renderings/design concept
    • Degree to which the proposal/renderings/design concept are responsive to the existing character of the site, its history and the community.
    • Technical feasibility and probability of successful completion.

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Entry procedure and submission requirements

Entry procedure

The City of Guelph will only accept electronically submitted applications to culture@guelph.ca. Deadline to apply is Wednesday, January 8, 2020.

Artists interested in applying for more than one location are required to submit Letters of Intent for each site.

Submission requirements

Stage one: RFQ

Submission must be sent in a single PDF and contain:

  1. Application form: At the end of the Call to Artists
  2. Letter of intent (1 page maximum, 12 point font, single spaced): Describe your general artistic approach and your preliminary vision for this project. Outline your experience creating artwork for the public realm. Include proof of your ability to successfully execute an outdoor mural project of this scale within the budget and timeline required. Confirm availability to undertake this project within its timeline. Please indicate which site you are applying for here.
  3. Resume/Curriculum vitae (3 page maximum, 12 point font, single spaced): If submitting as a collective, each member must provide a personal resume.
  4. Visual images and documentation list (3 minimum/10 maximum): Digital images of past work that best demonstrate your qualifications for this project. At least 2 of these images should be of similar scale and scope to the artwork being proposed in the artist’s letter of intent. Please include a documentation list to support visual images. Include title of work, medium, approx. dimensions, budget, location and date.
Stage two: RFP (By invitation)

Following review of stage one submissions a maximum of three (3) short-listed artists per site will be invited to develop their concept proposals. Honoraria will be paid to each short-listed artist/artist collective who will be asked to submit the following for review:

  1. Project proposal: A detailed project description including materials and technical requirements. The proposal should include a detailed description about how the artwork will enhance the existing character of the site through scale, colour, material, texture, and content. It should explain how the mural considers the social dynamics of the location, how the artwork considers the historical, geographical and cultural features of the site, as well as its relationship to existing architecture and landscaping, and how this work will contribute to a visitor’s experience of Downtown Guelph.
  2. Concept designs and/or renderings: A scaled concept design of the proposed work or full colour renderings that physically represent the work.
  3. Budget: An itemized budget based on the project proposal. The artwork budget is inclusive of all taxes, artist fees, artist sub-consultant fees, fabrications, travel, shipping, and accommodation costs.

The Selection Committee will then select one artist or artist collective per site.

Stage two: Honoraria

Each shortlisted artist or artist collective will be awarded an honorarium to offset costs related to the creation of concept designs and/or renderings

Location Honorarium
Site 1: left parkade wall $900
Site 2: main parkade wall $1,250

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General provisions

Artist agreement

Shortlisted artists will be required to enter an agreement with the City of Guelph to enter the second stage of the competition and receive the artist honorarium. Upon notification of being awarded a commission, the successful Artist(s) will enter into an additional agreement with the City of Guelph. The successful Artist will have a 15-day time period to finalize and sign the agreement.

Communication with the selection committee

The City of Guelph will be responsible for all communications, either verbal or in writing, between artists making submissions and members of the selection committee. Any communication between applicants and selection committee members regarding submissions or the competition may result in disqualification.

Conflict of interest

Applicants must disclose any potential conflict of interest in their submission, including any which may involve City employees, Council members, or members of City Advisory Committees.

Insurance

The artists selected will be required to provide the City with a General Liability Insurance Certificate, adding the City of Guelph as additionally insured up two (2) million dollars.

Intellectual property

The artist will retain copyright of the artwork. The artist must assign ownership of the artwork to the City of Guelph where it will be accessioned into the City’s Public Art Collection. The City will not alter the artwork for purposes of maintenance, conservation etc. without prior consultation with the Artist. The City of Guelph reserves the right to move or de-accession the artwork if necessary and will make every effort to notify the Artist of any changes to the status or location of the artwork.

Loss or damage

While every precaution will be taken to prevent loss or damage, the Selection Committee, the City of Guelph, and its agents shall not be liable for any loss or damage, however caused.

Concept designs/renderings

Concept designs/renderings may be displayed publicly in an open forum.

Original work

This commission is for a new piece of artwork. The artist must guarantee that the proposed artwork is original and does not violate the copyright of any other person.

Reserved rights

The City and Selection Committee are not obliged to accept any of the submissions, and reserves the right to reissue the Call to Artists, make no selection or cancel the process as required.

Submission requirements

All submissions must be received via email at culture@guelph.ca in a single PDF file. No extensions will be granted and late submissions will not be reviewed. Please read the full Call to Artists to ensure compliancy with submission requirements. Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

Warranty

Artist(s) will be required to provide a suitable minimum five-year warranty from the date of installation for the work produced to ensure durability.

The successful artists for Phase One have been chosen!

The City received 202 submissions from applicants all over the world for the Main Street Mural Project. Twelve applicants were shortlisted and four finalists have been selected to enhance sites along Wilson Street in Downtown Guelph.

Site A: Market side wall awarded to Pellvetica

Sandy and Steve Pell, a husband and wife duo from Kitchener, were awarded the commission for the side wall beside the Guelph Farmers’ Market. Their design is a detailed monarch butterfly – a nod to Guelph’s nickname, the Royal City, and a tribute to pollinators.

Why a monarch? While some endangered species have grabbed global attention, the decreasing population of the monarch butterfly has only recently gained attention. Today in Ontario, monarchs have reached the “special concern” status. “Special Concern” means the species lives in the wild, is not endangered or threatened, but may become threatened or endangered due to a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats. This speaks directly to the theme of Robert Cram and Eldon Garnet’s  public art installation at the corner of Wilson and Gordon Streets, that, “nature is precarious, and that without stewardship, it is in jeopardy.”

Pellvetica’s artwork is built on a balanced, and often symmetrical, grid foundation. Each of the shapes used are inspired by the natural repetition of patterns found in nature’s most beautiful cellular structures and textures.

The artwork itself is painted using sharp, black line work that is highlighted by bright white accents. A vivid orange copper metallic paint has been used throughout to further draw attention to the piece since the reflectivity of the paint will naturally bounce sunlight. This colour structure will also play off the polished bronze deer featured in the installation by Cram and Garnet.

A natural selfie site, visitors will be encouraged to pose in front of the butterfly wings and share their experience using the hashtag #royalcitywings.

Site B: Wooden inlet on side of City Hall awarded to Cheka Creative Inc. (Alex Kwong and Sergey Ryutin)

Alex Kwong and Sergey Ryutin from Calgary were awarded the commission for the wooden inlet on the side of City Hall. The artwork created for this designated heritage site, entitled As it’s Written, provides a visual connection of the past and future. A monochromatic background consisting of Guelph’s founder, John Galt, and the historic Basilica on the hill give the viewer a glimpse of the past, while the young fawn represents both the future and the original peoples of this land, the Attawandaron, who called themselves, “The People of the Deer.” The fawn also provides a connection to Guelph’s latest public art installation, “Sudden Garden,” by Robert Cram and Eldon Garnet.

As the story goes, Galt founded Guelph on St. George’s Day, April 23, 1827 with the ceremonial felling of a large maple tree. This is represented by the array of maple leaves flowing the length of the mural. The fawn, also a symbol of growth and empowerment, is enveloped by the leaves, further emphasizing connection between the past and present.

In consideration of the heritage site on which the artwork has been installed, Cheka’s goal was to create a visually compelling piece that complements the building both in subject matter and colour scheme. Through the use of warm greys and beige tones, they’ve developed a design that is in harmony with the surrounding architecture.

The “map” overlay of Guelph’s main roads further activates the theme of connection in this piece.

Site C: Underpass wall – City Hall/Guelph Farmers’ Market side awarded to Kenneth Lavallee

Lavallee, a Métis artist from Winnipeg, was awarded the east underpass wall on the Guelph Farmers’ Market side. His design, entitled Cultivation, was inspired by his research of the history of Guelph, specifically the traditional territories of the Attawandaron whose land was described as a ‘community of longhouses surrounded by fields of corn.’

Lavallee’s mural uses a simplified graphic style inspired by pictograms, essential for effective idea transmission in a short span of time. The mural also employs universal themes such as balance, order, scale and harmony.

Starting from the left we see an abstracted cornfield in a sea of green, honouring a healthy and productive earth/land, which slowly ascends and grows tall toward the centre, closest to the sun. The vivid colours and the ascending and descending nature of the design is meant to stimulate the eye and the imagination, to almost animate itself with each pass by.

The right half of the mural represents cycles of time, seasons and days of the week, which continuously rotate like clockwork around the centre. The blue counters the green of the earth, representing and honouring water and the nearby rivers. The human hands, mirroring each other, emphasise the constant physical work and cooperation required for cultivating the land.

While simple in design, Lavallee wants the general message of the mural to describe that through hard work and effort, good results will happen – like the old adage says, “you reap what you sow.”

Site D: Underpass wall – Parkade side awarded to Emmanuel Jarus

Jarus, a Toronto artist, was awarded the fourth site on the west underpass wall. Jarus’ design, entitled In Flight, features a variety of birds, creating movement across a vivid blue sky.

Bird watching brings people together in a spirit of enthusiasm and appreciation of nature. By featuring a variety of birds, Jarus’ artwork recognizes the diversity in Guelph and emphasizes the importance of inclusion.

Jarus was inspired by Ted Fullerton’s bird sculptures in Market Square and Guelph Central Station and as well as Wilson Street’s role as a centre point of travel, energized by constant movement. He hopes to encourage the fundamental human aspiration to move freely and dream greatly through this installation.

Background

The City of Guelph has received one-time funding from Ontario’s Main Street Revitalization Initiative to support and benefit rejuvenation, redevelopment, renovations and enhancements to revitalize main streets.

As directed by City Council, funding will be implemented through a competitive applications process to develop murals at various locations, specifically for the purpose of animating public spaces that support downtown tourism destinations.

All applications were reviewed and evaluated by the City’s Council-appointed Public Art Advisory Committee. City staff were involved as non-voting members.

This is Phase one of the funding implementation.