Mural shows community’s ties as “stronger together”

·4 min read

If a silver lining is to be found in the middle of a global pandemic, it might be the renewed sense that a community is stronger together.

The theme of “stronger together” is a predominant theme in a new community mural unveiled at Town Hall on Monday, December 16.

Consisting of 450 tiles coming together to represent a sturdy tree and the strength of its roots, the community began painting individual tiles when we were under strict lockdown orders at the beginning of 2021 and finished when we were enjoying many freedoms once again during the Town’s Canada Day celebrations.

“We started the mural back in January of 2021,” says Shelley Ware, Special Events Coordinator for the Town of Aurora. “The planning was underway when we were in that stay-at-home order. Although we were optimistic for what Canada Day would look like, we wanted to ensure we had a solid program that would not be vulnerable to Provincial guidelines.”

To steer this project, the Town reached out once again to the team responsible for bringing its Canada 150 mural, now on display at the Aurora Family Leisure Complex, to fruition.

The problem, however, was due to the provincial guidelines, the team was unable to be on site to guide its development, including being able to provide a helping hand to participating community artists.

“We had to be independent and literally handle this solely on our own,” says Ms. Ware. “Back in 2017, they came to Aurora and stayed for a couple of days to put this together and this involved us handling it here. We were going into this thinking, worst case scenario, all of the tiles would be picked up curbside [by members of the public] and returned to us. Pleasantly, moving towards Canada Day, we were able to have approximately 288 of the 450 tiles painted in person and the balance was done through curbside pickup and drop-of.”

From the outset, the goal of the mural was to create something long-lasting but also reflective of where the community happened to be with COVID-19. They wanted to illustrate a “success story,” says Ms. Ware, and that’s where the “stronger together” theme really came into focus.

“We started this under stay-at-home orders, ended up painting the tiles in person, and we really, as a community, a province, a nation, will only be able to get through COVID by being stronger together,” says Ms. Ware. “With the community collaborations, that is where you really find the true strength. I think all of us have really learned things about ourselves that maybe we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do before. The theme was symbolic on so many levels, as well, [it is fitting for it] to be our key signature piece for the Canada Day festivities.

“As it turned out, we were able to offer so much more for the Canada Day festivities with the Farmers’ Market being generous in providing an extra Market day that week. The day turned out really great, but this mural, which was evidence of ‘stronger together’ was really going to pave our way should the other activities not be possible.”

The mural now takes pride of place on the stairs at Town Hall.

As the Town continues to develop its public art policy, expect more of these murals and art opportunities to be visible around the community in the years ahead, including the upcoming Aurora Town Square build.

“Council has always been steadfast in supporting arts and culture while recognizing its impact on the community, on creating our personality, our atmosphere, creating connection, dialogue and simple conversation,” says Ms. Ware. “Arts and culture is so vital and our Town has always been a progressive leader in supporting this industry and sector. That I can’t see slowing down one iota and that is evidenced with the creation of Town Square when all the new possibilities for expression and opportunities that will be possible.

“A huge thanks to the community for the mural because it took 450 people to paint a tile to make this possible. For some people, painting a tile was new to them, they were shy, they weren’t sure of their skillset, and for others, they were seasoned artists and was able to contribute to putting their fingerprint onto this timeless piece. 450 thanks go out to the community because there is no mural without those tiles.”

Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting