July 17, 2021

By: Karisa Simon

Oakville is home to an incredibly vibrant art scene. With historical museums, galleries and the Oakville Centre for Performing Arts, there is something for everybody to enjoy. One of my favourite things about this is the abundance of outdoor public art projects around town. These public works feature local professionals and emerging artists.

Keep reading below to learn more about some of my favourite pieces and start planning your next outdoor adventure.

Why is public art important?

Public art contributes to a community’s identity and it adds value to the economy by enriching our physical and social environments. Public art also allows local artists to connect with the community. Many of the art installations that I visited this week are a part of the Town of Oakville’s ConNextion public art exhibit. ConNextion is an exhibit that can be found in local parks and features local artists that have connections to Oakville.

A Seat in Serendipity by: Hannah Veiga  

Pondview Pond – 90 Pondview Place

This installation is composed of drawings on a wooden park bench, where pyrography (wood burning) is used to illustrate plants and animals found in the area. Street parking is available in the community around Pondview Pond and the bench is located right at the entrance of the park. I have never seen a pyrography art piece before, so I was awestruck by the immense amount of detail. I loved that I could sit down on the bench and take a few undisturbed minutes in nature.

Hope is a Thing with Feathers by: Tazeen Qayyum

Memorial Park – 120 Oak Park Boulevard

This installation is made from a shed that was transformed into a beautiful landscape painting. The artist’s intention was to convey festive emotions, hope and love during COVID-19. She invited residents of Oakville and elsewhere to send their used face masks to be added to the artwork as material. This piece was also inspired by Ragamala paintings, which are South Asian miniature paintings. The oversized canvas and vibrant colours in this installation made it a statement piece in the vastness of Memorial Park.

Insider tip: Park on the west end of Central Park Dr. or Hayes Blvd. at the designated street parking areas and one of the paved paths to the installation.

Stronger together by: Melanie Billark

Westwood Park – 170 Wilson Street

In this piece, the artist collected and creatively reused plastic shopping bags into a fabric-like textile and wove it through the structure of the Westwood Park gazebo. The weaving of the plastic bags signifies hope and the contribution of the community. The artist plans on repurposing plastic for other projects in the future. I love the idea of repurposing everyday materials into sustainable art. There really is a way to reuse just about anything in life and turn it into something amazing. Street parking and municipal parking lots can be found near the park.

An Echo of Oakville by: Ignazio Colt Nicastro

Glen Abbey Community Centre, 1415 Third Line

This installation is made out of wood, plaster, mirror shards, super glue and resin. The mirror shards were used to signify self-reflection, and encourage viewers to examine themselves and their surroundings. This sculpture also highlights elements that come to mind when thinking of Oakville: an oak leaf and Lake Ontario. This installation can be found outside the main entrance of the community centre. Parking can be found in the library parking lot.

At Home in Bronte Muskoka Chair display by: Various Artist

Bronte Boardwalk, Bronte Pier and Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park

This art installation includes 70 professionally painted Muskoka chairs that are free to view or sit on at any time, and it is a must-see in Oakville. I visited the chairs along the Fisherman’s Warf near Ontario St. and Bronte Road and they were stunning works of art. Each chair had its own unique quality and even share a hidden lighthouse icon. Not to mention the view of the waterfront is amazing. Parking can be found in the Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park parking lot or you can pay for street parking nearby. Go on down to Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park and take a look or a seat in one of these beautiful Muskoka chairs.

Minor Alterations: Oakville by: Heather J.A. Thomson

Shell Park, 3307 Lakeshore Road West

Located at Shell Park, this installation is comprised of six painted picnic tables.

The artwork on each table represents sustainable lifestyle changes that individuals can make to ensure the environment is protected for future generations. I love that these picnic tables are located at a park where so many families and children come to spend time together. It is a great way to engage in meaningful conversations about sustainability with friends and family. There is an abundance of parking available at this park.

I had a great time visiting a few of Oakville’s Public art installations. I learned a lot and enjoyed the artistic expression of Oakville’s talented artist. I hope you have as much fun visiting these installations as I did!

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