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Public Art

Our public art program helps artists – new and experienced – create art for public spaces all over Kingston, including downtown, residential neighbourhoods, rural spaces and natural areas. This makes our city more vibrant and welcoming by bringing our community closer together. It also helps local artists, curators and arts administrators learn and grow. 

Our Public Art Master Plan helps us offer different art experiences including permanent installations and temporary art. We also set aside some money from new building and park funds to support art in those spaces. You can stay updated about current projects through the Arts and Culture newsletter. 

Take the Arts Walk tour! 

Discover art in your area through a self-guided tour. You can explore it by walking, biking, driving or taking the bus. You'll find this art along Kingston's waterfront from Lake Ontario Park to Douglas Fluhrer Park, in the downtown area, from the Williamsville neighbourhood to Victoria Park, in other places like the INVISTA Centre and YGK Airport, and even in the suburbs and countryside. 

Learn more and find the locations in our Arts Walk map. You can also find printed Arts Walk postcards at City Hall. Photographs by Chris Miner with support from Suleimy Rios-Aguilar.   

Permanent public art

Manidoo Ogitigan Spirit Garden

Manidoo Ogitigan (Spirit Garden)

by Terence Radford, Alderville First Nation Commemoration project, Lake Ontario Park, 2021

‘Spirit Garden’ is a project made in collaboration with the Alderville First Nation about the past and present relationship between the First Nation and the Katarokwi/Kingston region. The art features wampum belts, the symbolism of the medicine wheel and many culturally significant plants, arranged to represent the layout of the Alderville Methodist Church layout. It offers a space for reflection, ceremonies and education. 

Terence Radford is an artist and a landscape architect in Cobourg, Ontario. His Cree heritage and work with the Métis Nation of British Columbia and the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres inspire his studies about landscapes and Indigenous art. 

The horse and cart sculpture

Horse and Cart

by Nicholas Crombach, Victoria Park, 2021

'Horse and Cart' features a life-sized horse alongside a children's wooden horse cart, symbolizing a toy becoming a real horse and buggy. This artwork celebrates local history and Victoria Park's transformation from farmland to a recreational area.  

Nicholas Crombach, based in Kingston, Ontario, exhibits his sculptures in various locations across North America and Europe. His artwork combines traditional styles and motifs with modern elements, introducing playful and unexpected materials and details. 

Before and after images of The Wilds of Kingston by artist Brandon Vickerd

The Wilds of Kingston

by Brandon Vickerd, Princess Street Sidewalk project, 2021

Have you ever imagined animals acting like humans? That is the idea behind ‘The Wilds of Kingston.’ This fun artwork makes us think differently about sculptures and how they work and makes us consider the relationship between nature and the city.  

Brandon Vickerd is an artist from Hamilton and a York University professor. His work can be found in various public spaces across Canada. His sculptures are a mix of serious and fun using humour to make people think. He likes to challenge the way people in the Western world see their traditions and their thoughts. 

The Kingston Potters Guide mosaic inbetween two floors

Renewal

By the Kingston Potters Guild, Richardson Beach Bathhouse, 2023

The Kingston Potters Guild designed a site-specific mosaic. They handmade, colored, glazed, and fired over a thousand tiles, involving community members in sessions at the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning. The tiles represent land and water, with the color progression symbolizing ongoing change. 

Nancy Martin led the project with support from a core group of Guild members, including Ineke Quartel, Marga Vanderwal, Tania Craan, Delvalle Lewis, Jean Webber, June Lang, and Patty Petkovich, along with the participation of many other Guild members. Eastern Ontario Terrazzo & Tile Company Ltd. installed the mosaic under the Guild's supervision, and Spectrum Glazes donated the glazes for the tiles. 

Painter painting the large mural on the side of a building while utilizing a cherry picker

Kingston: A moment in the city

by Peru Dyer Jalea, 168 Division St. mural, 2022

The artist uses simple shapes and bright colors to make boring places fun, giving a break from your routine and letting your imagination go wild. The word ‘KINGSTON’ in the art symbolizes a place to be proud of and visit. The main message is that we're all connected and should care for each other, no matter our differences. 

Peru is a Canadian artist with 25 years of experience. He combines graffiti and murals to encourage unity. He started in Canada after moving from Peru at the age of 15. He works with non-profit groups to promote unity and connection through his art. 

The Hom(e)ing public art showing an illustration of a goose and the words How do these geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons?

Hom(e)ing

by Vincent Pérez, YGK Airport, 2019

This mural is like a patchwork of pictures, inspired by a special quilt made by artist Laurene King-McGill that was previously installed at the airport. The mural uses patterns that mimic quilt blocks and symbols for flying, including propellers and compasses. Additionally, there is an illustration of a big Canada Goose by John James Audubon, a tribute to both the quilt and air travel. 

Vincent Pérez is a designer, letterpress printer and artist living in Kingston, Ontario. He is dedicated to art as public practice, design as collaborative process and printing in the analog tradition. 

Temporary public art 

‘Art in Public Places’ is our program for temporary art in Kingston. We invite contemporary artists to showcase their work in public spaces such as streets, parks and neighbourhoods. Each year, we provide artists with compensation to exhibit their diverse cultural and multifaceted art. This art is temporary and doesn't become a part of our civic collection 

Sign up for our Arts and Culture newsletter to be notified of upcoming calls for artist proposals. 

Crosswalk Mural Pilot Project 

In summer of 2023, we teamed up with the Skeleton Park Arts Festival (SPAF) for the Crosswalk Mural Pilot Project. Local artists and community members worked together to create three temporary ground murals on the road. The idea was to turn parts of the street into art and make public art a regular part of our daily lives, supporting the community. 

Right now, this project is under review to figure out if there are more chances for artists and communities to make mural crosswalks. The painted murals won't last forever; they'll fade over time because of traffic, weather, and the materials used. That's just a normal part of the life of art on the road. 

Crosswalk art at Balaclava Street and Redan Street  by Artists Marney McDiarmid and Vince Perez 

Crosswalk on Balaclava Street and Redan Street

by Marney McDiarmid and Vincent Pérez

The Redan Street neighbourhood wanted a playful theme for this mural, like a giant ‘I Spy’ game. You can spot various items, some hinting at the neighbourhood's history. With input from traditional knowledge keepers, the words "Naamjiwan" and “Ohwentsakonshon iotnhekahtetionhatie” represent this concept, highlighting the challenges of Indigenous language revitalization. 

Marney McDiarmid is a ceramic artist, illustrator and surface pattern designer. Her work is vibrant and reflects her passion for connecting people to creativity, nature and each other.  
Vincent Pérez is a designer, letterpress printer and artist in Kingston. He's dedicated to public art, collaborative design and traditional printing. 

Crosswalk art at Alma Street and Ordnance Street  by Artists Jaylene Cardinal and Dakota Ward  

Crosswalk on Alma Street and Ordnance Street

by Jaylene Cardinal and Dakota Ward

Dakota Ward and Jaylene Cardinal, Cree artists, moved to Kingston from Edmonton in 2014. They are passionate about expressing their ideas and beliefs through art, aiming to create a more empathetic and beautiful world. They run W.C. Creatives, offering unique Indigenous art, jewelry, crafts and fashion. They also host painting workshops and art classes. 

Crosswalk art at Alma Street and Balaclava Street  by Artist Floriana Ehninger Cuervo

Crosswalk on Alma Street and Balaclava Street

by Floriana Ehninger Cuervo

Floriana Ehninger-Cuervo, a freelance creative, has been in Kingston for 13 years, originally to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She has discovered her passion for bringing art and thoughtful design to everyday spaces rather than galleries. Along with illustration, lettering and sign painting, she is involved in public art installations, like the sun-themed crosswalk with playful images. 

Pathway featuring Water Snake public art installation

Water snake pathway

by RAW Design Inc, Delta Hotel and Battery Park

This playful installation aims to engage residents and visitors along Kingston's waterfront. Water Snake consists of three sculptural segments that provide seating and encourage interaction, creating an engaging space using innovative 3D printing by local company Nidus3D. The project is funded by the Canada Community Revitalization Fund.  

The waterway artwork situated in the INVISTA centre that spans the length of the building

Waterway

By Danielle Folkerts, The INVISTA Centre, 2018

Waterway is a colorful mural inspired by Kingston and Lake Ontario. It uses brush strokes and vibrant colors to create a lively and interactive path. The artist wanted to balance careful planning with a bit of chaos. By using calming blues and contrasting them with oranges, yellows, and purples, the mural aims to make you feel refreshed and energized, like a flowing current of water alongside the walls. 

Danielle Folkerts is an artist, teacher, and program coordinator in Kingston, Ontario.  Known for her colorful paintings, textiles, and large-scale murals, she has participated in artist-residencies and workshops worldwide. 

Community public art

Kingston waterfront artwork showing the large scuplture called Time

Waterfront Pathway

Explore Kingston's beautiful waterfront on the Waterfront Pathway, an eight km public path connecting to the downtown core from King Street to Emma Martin Park. This scenic trail is perfect for walking, biking or simply enjoying the picturesque views of Lake Ontario. Plus, it forms part of the 900 km Waterfront Trust Trail, connecting Niagara to Quebec, and the southern terminus of the Rideau Trail. 

YGK Street Art Wall

The Street Art Wall on the Rideaucrest retaining wall by Douglas Fluhrer Park is the only legal spot in Kingston for street art and murals. A legal wall, also called a "free space," is where street art, graffiti, and murals are allowed and even encouraged. The Wall is open to all artists, no matter their skill level. 

We encourage artists to take pictures of their work and share them on social media using the hashtag #YGKStreetArtWall. 

  • The Street Art Wall is open every day from sunrise to sunset. 
  • You can create murals, do street art tagging, and paint on the Wall. 
  • The community manages the wall, and paintings might be painted over by other users. Be respectful to fellow artists and share the wall. 
  • Paint only on the retaining wall and be considerate of nearby residents and properties.

  • Participants need to bring their own paint, supplies, and water. 
  • Only standard paints are allowed for use on the Street Art Wall: 
      • Aerosols and spray paints  
      • Acrylic or latex based paints
      • Exterior grade paints
      • Paint markers  
  • Participants can use brushes, sponges, rollers, and other painting methods on the Street Art Wall. 
  • Prohibited paints and materials include lead-based paints and oil-based paints. 
  • No 3D or sculptural elements can be added to the wall. 
  • Participants are not allowed to make any physical or structural changes to the wall, including: 
      • Lead-based paints  
      • Oil-based paints 
      • No 3D or sculptural elements may be affixed to the wall.  
      • No physical or structural alterations may be made to the wall, including drilling, gluing or chipping. 

  • There are no extra trash bins at Douglas Fluhrer Park for getting rid of paints and supplies. 
  • When you plan to join, remember to take away all your supplies and any waste from the park. 
  • Don't throw away paints or supplies in the park garbage cans. 
  • It's not allowed to pour dirty water into the waterway or on park property. 

Please use the right procedures to get rid of paint waste and take it to the City of Kingston’s Households Hazardous Waste Facility at 196 Lappan's Lane..

The following content is strictly prohibited, including any imagery and/or text that: 

  • Is gang or crime-related
  • Incites hatred or violence against any person or identifiable group
  • Promotes stereotypes or negative attitudes based on a ground protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code
  • Contains profane, vulgar, or offensive language
  • Depicts violence or explicit sexual content 

We will remove content if it appears where painting is not allowed by the City. 

If a member of the public sees prohibited content on the Street Art Wall, please call Cultural Services at 613-546-4291 ext. 1158. 

We actively and cooperatively manage graffiti vandalism in public spaces while supporting murals and street art that adds artistic energy to Kingston. 

To report graffiti on surfaces other than the Street Art Wall, email the City's bylaw department at bylawenforcement@cityofkingston.ca or call 613-546-4291 ext. 3135. 

If you witness illegal vandalism, including prohibited content on the Street Art Wall, call Kingston Police at 613-549-4660 or visit the Kingston Police website to file a report. 

If you have more questions, contact us at publicart@cityofkingston.ca. 

Private property murals 

A mural is a painting or artwork applied directly on a wall as a form of decoration or artistic expression. We simplified the application process for artists, property owners, business owners and community groups to support the creation of murals as public art. 

How to apply: 

  1. Review the program guidelines 
  2. Review the Mural Toolkit for best practices and suggestions on what to consider
  3. Select the site and ensure you have written permission from the property owner
  4. Select the artist and get a proposed design 
  5. Fill out the application for a mural on private property. We will ask for information on the owner, the proposed mural and location and installation and maintenance plans.

Installing a mural on a heritage property 

If you want to put a mural on a heritage property or a property listed in our Heritage Register, you will need a heritage permit

You can contact heritageplanning@cityofkingston.ca to find out what you need before applying.

Become a Public Art Jury member 

Local and regional artists, curators, art experts and interested community members are encouraged to apply for the Public Art Jury. Members will be chosen based on their experience and knowledge of art, public art and Kingston. 

The City of Kingston acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land.

Today, the City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation.

Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.

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