Clinton's Back Alley Art Project
With construction set to shut down Clinton’s main street this summer, the town is looking for ways to draw locals and passers-by to continue to shop and explore the downtown core. To do so, the Back Alley Art Extravaganza project aims to engage local residents and revitalize the back alleys behind the Albert Street businesses, the town’s main drag, and respond to the need to continue to support the businesses during the shutdown. During this time, businesses on the main street will be accessible through their back doors, in the back alley.
“Alleys behind shops are typically very serviceable, but not attractive, so this is a way of beautifying the space and drawing visitors and residents to the alley to support their local business while here,” says Angela Smith, the community improvement co-ordinator for Central Huron.
Toronto’s Graffiti Alley and Miami’s Wynwood Art District are examples of how street art has worked in beautifying back alleys in urban settings and are the inspiration behind this project. In Clinton though, the scene will be slightly different.
The street art vibe will exist, but installations will be painted on wooden panels, rather than directly on to the buildings’ exteriors.
While the tag names may not include any internationally-known street artists, some artists’ signatures may nevertheless be recognizable, particularly those local to the region. Participation is open to anyone, with local residents joining in the fun by creating their masterpiece at home, a perfect COVID-19 lockdown activity.
Smith says high school art classes are joining in and using this as an art project, families and businesses are participating, and even area retirement and nursing homes have started on installations.
That said one local artist, TOVA, famed for her murals in Goderich and Seaforth (with more coming this summer across the county) is planning to contribute. And if her past works are anything to go by, this is where you’ll want to grab a selfie.
Once completed, the canvases will be installed like a sign or a billboard to beautify the back alley entrances to the town’s downtown businesses in May.
Keep up with the project and other events at Central Huron BiA - www.cchbia.ca