Fredericton group hopes to connect people with street art and horse barns

·2 min read
The Fredericton Trails Coalition, in partnership with the New Brunswick Provincial Exhibition (NBEX), is seeking an artist to create a mural along the horse barns. (Fredericton Trails Coalition - image credit)
The Fredericton Trails Coalition, in partnership with the New Brunswick Provincial Exhibition (NBEX), is seeking an artist to create a mural along the horse barns. (Fredericton Trails Coalition - image credit)

Artists, get out your spray cans.

The Fredericton Trails Coalition wants to revitalize part of the city trail between Rookwood Avenue and Smythe Street, near the New Brunswick Exhibition horse barns.

"It's nothing but a big canvas," said Stephen Marr, vice-president of the Fredericton Trails Coalition.

So, the group hopes to turn it into a huge mural and is looking for proposals.

The idea came about last year, when organizers were trying to come up with ways to celebrate the community trails — while following physical distancing rules because of COVID-19.

Bringing history and art together

"It's something that's happening all over Canada," he said.

For years, the horse barns have been spray painted with bubble letters or funny looking smiley faces.

"Why not beautify it and put something meaningful on there that would actually become a destination for people on the trail?" he said.

The canvas is about 100 metres long and art applications are pretty open-ended.

"If you pigeonhole them you're not going to allow them their creativity," he said

There are a lot of people who pass by the area while cycling to work or out for a stroll with kids. So the group is hoping for something that focuses on community and its history.

"The topics are just too numerous to count."

'It's about community'

A call for artists was sent out in the middle of February.

The group has received about 28 applications so far. People have until the end of March to apply.

Then, the proposals will be evaluated by Fredericton's art community, including gallery owners and art instructors.

Five artists will be selected in June. Then, they will be asked to do a mockup of the canvas.

The finalist will be announced on June 15, and will get to work after Canada Day. The artist will receive about $20,000 for the project and potential grants.

The artwork is expected to be finished by September. The paint is expected to last five to six years.

Marr said he isn't worried about taggers destroying the artwork. He said there's an unwritten rule between taggers that once a mural goes up, it's off limits.

"It's about community involvement and appreciation and inclusiveness on the trails."