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Streets Alive: Street Art in Orillia, Ontario
Festival of Banners and Streets Alive
Festival of Banners was created by Leslie Fournier, a local businesswoman in Orillia, Ontario. Hand-painted banners designed by local artists and citizens of Orillia are hung on lamp posts to draw people to the downtown area of the city. Being that Orillia is a tourist area, these banners each year are a different theme, and they welcome the tourists and cottagers.
In 2009, Streets Alive, an offshoot of the Festival of Banners started as an outdoor art event featuring jury-selected artists to create banners to showcase local art and culture. Two hundred and fifteen vinyl banners were created and voted on for cash prizes to the top four. First place was a $1500.00 prize.
Where in the world is Orillia?
Orillia, Ontario sits on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe.
Guitars on Parade
2010 was Mariposa Folk Festivals 50th birthday celebration, and for this year the Streets Alive theme was guitars. There were 50 super-sized hand-painted guitar sculptures in and around the downtown core and on the waterfront. Eighteen of the guitars were auctioned off at the end of October.
In 2011 Sixty Sails was the theme for Streets Alive, and sixty sailboat sculptures could be seen on the streets which were painted by artists. Sails are made of eight-foot sail panels, supported by iron and displayed on a concrete pedestal. You can still see some of the sailboats that are on the boardwalk on Lake Couchiching Park.
Stephen Leacock was a Canadian economist, writer, and humorist. During the summer months, he lived in Orillia, Ontario on Old Brewery Bay, in a house he had built in 1928 on Lake Couchiching. The estate is now a museum and a National Historic Site of Canada.
In 1912 Leacock wrote Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, a great classic humorous book of short stories. Although in the book the town is called Mariposa, it is actually written about Orillia and the townspeople.
An outdoor public art exhibit for 2012 features fifty Leacock Chairs and is based on everything Stephen Leacock. This year prizes for people's choice awards total $20,000 in cash prizes and will be shared by five artists. Each chair is numbered and you can go and place a vote for the chair that you like best.
As you walk along the streets in Orillia you will see chairs made of handcrafted metal and painted by a jury of artists.
Each chair is made of sheet metal and faux wood.
A book by Stephen Leacock
More ChairsClick thumbnail to view full-size
What's yet to come?
Be sure to check back next year to see what the theme of Orillia's Streets Alive will be.
Streets Alive 2013
Theme for this year's Streets Alive is "Letters"
Streets Alive "2013
2014 Streets Alive "Art Grows Here" Planters
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© 2012 Susan Zutautas