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Arts take centre stage as Ontario Street: A Vibrant Spaces Project returns for its second weekend

August 1, 2019 -

The City's Ontario Street: A Vibrant Spaces Project will return for its second weekend from Aug. 9 – 11 as Ontario Street in front of City Hall is transformed into a gathering space and  hub of artistic and cultural activity. The weekend's programming is focused on the potential of creative placemaking in Kingston; leveraging arts and culture to re-imagine public spaces and foster community collaboration and shared enjoyment within them.

"Placemaking that positions art at the centre of activity can strengthen our sense of community," explains Danika Lochhead, manager, arts and sector development at the City of Kingston. "For the Ontario Street project, we'll aim to do just that by animating the street as a public place and delivering arts workshops and activities, installations, public art and cultural heritage talks and tours, music and more."

In addition to offering programming, three zones will be created on Ontario Street for workshops, performances and talks. These zones will be animated with additional furniture, seating, tables, greenery and shade. This project will explore and evaluate how people interact with the space by participating in programming and using the street as a new public space for gathering and as a destination for community.

This section of Ontario Street will close to traffic at 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 9 and re-open Sunday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m.  If needed, programming will be moved inside to Memorial Hall on Saturday and Sunday. Follow the City's social media channels for real-time updates.

What to expect on Friday

  • All day - Experience an installation of a large-scale globe featuring NASA's iconic "Blue Marble" satellite imagery. Inspired by photos taken by the Apollo astronauts, the globe shares the astronaut's view of Earth from outer space, showcasing the incredible beauty of our home planet. The globe is seen in cities and spaces all around the world and is in Kingston for this weekend only. The installation is supported by a community engagement activity to inspire people to think about the world and our environment.
  • 9 – 10:30 p.m.: Weekend kick-off dance party and performance by Kingston-based DJ Tigerstylez. Presented in partnership with Electric Circuits Collective.

What to expect on Saturday

  • All day: Large-scale globe installation continues
  • All day: Cycle Kingston Bicycle Valet; ride to Ontario Street and take advantage of a free bicycle valet service at the corner of Ontario and Brock.
  • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Free Guided City Hall Tours, every hour on the hour. Learn more about Kingston City Hall's fascinating history, beautiful architecture – and about the intriguing people, events and stories associated with this National Historic Site. Meet in front of City Hall on Ontario Street.
  • 9:30 a.m. – noon: Drop-in to Creation Caravan for hands-on arts and creative activities, designed for kids and families. This event takes place again on Sunday, Aug. 11 at 1 p.m.
  • 10 – 11:30 a.m.: Join Kingston's Poet Laureate, Jason Heroux on a poetry path walk-about along Ontario Street to discover poetry in unexpected places, like the Confederation Basin fountain, a telephone booth and in Battery Park. End the tour back on Ontario Street for a poetry writing session led by Jason. Bring your notebooks. All levels welcome. This workshop and poetry session will be offered again on Sunday, Aug. 11 at 1 p.m.
  • 10:30 a.m. – noon: Public Art Talk – Join Taylor Norris, public art coordinator at the City of Kingston; Professor Tarah Wright, Dalhousie University; local artists Noah Scheinman and Adam Biehler; and performing artist and environmentalist, Tracey Guptill for a panel discussion titled Imagined Futures, Pressing Times: Intersections of Public Art, Climate Change and the Environment.  The panelists will explore the importance of the arts in broadening public discourse around the environment and climate change, from both a local perspective and in a broad context.
  • Noon – 3 p.m.: Live Painting/Mural Jam – Watch live painting by the DEAD ON, a collective of local emerging visual artists, who will create new work onsite. Materials will be provided to create your own mini-mural. This activation supports the City's newly launched Street Art Wall, a pilot project that establishes the Rideaucrest retaining wall adjacent to Douglas Fluhrer Park as a temporary legal wall available for use by the community to create street art and murals. The Live Painting/Mural Jam takes place again on Sunday, Aug. 11 at noon.
  • 2 – 3 p.m.:  PumpHouse Museum Curator Talks and Tours. Join curators Melissa Cruise and Tom Riddolls for two, 20-minute talks about current PumpHouse exhibition "Ontario Street: Brewers, Bakers and Boilermakers, 1830-1970." Following the talks, they will lead a walking tour along Ontario Street, ending at the PumpHouse.

What to expect on Sunday

  • All day: Large-scale globe installation continues
  • 11 a.m.  – noon: Facilitated by Cultural Services' Arts Programming staff, the Two Islands workshop is a dynamic and interactive drama session based on the children's book "Two Islands" by Ivan Gantschev. The workshop offers an opportunity for participants to not only engage with the story but to think critically and creatively about sustainability. Designed for children aged 6-12.
  • Noon – 3 p.m.: Live Painting/Mural Jam 1 – 3 p.m.: Kingston's Poet Laureate Poetry Path and Writing Session
  • 1 -3 p.m.: Creation Caravan