By ALAN SHACKLETON
Beach residents had a chance to take a look at a trio of proposals for the new mural to be painted on the east wall of the Foodland store at Queen Street East and Lee Avenue this summer during a community consultation meeting last night.
Artist John Kuna has been commissioned to paint the mural after being selected by a committee made up of Foodland, the Beach Village BIA and Mural Routes.
The meeting was held at the Beaches Branch Library on Monday, May 13 and was attended by Kuna, store owner Nick Kyriacou, representatives from Sobeys/Foodland and Tara Dorey of Mural Routes.
Kyriacou talked about how important the mural was to the community how happy he and Foodland were to share the proposals with residents.
“The community means so much to us and we are thrilled to be revitalizing the mural which we know means so much to the community,” he said.
The wall had been the site of a mural called Beach Got Rhythm painted by Rudolf Stussi and his son Errol in 2007 that depicted a number of Beach landmarks and jazz musicians. That mural had to be removed in November of last year due to cracks in the wall that had made it unsafe.
At the time of its removal, Foodland vowed to work with the community to replace it.
Those at Monday night’s meeting could fill out a ballot voting for which of the three proposals was their favourite, and also provide input directly to artist Kuna as part of a question-and-answer session.
Kuna introduced the three proposals he had created, pointing out that all three had some common themes but were presented in different artistic styles. Those artistic styles were realistic for Option 1; semi abstract for Option 2; and abstract for Option 3.
He said that the goal of the mural was not to be historical but rather a depiction of the healthy and active lifestyle of the community.
“All three designs depict activities around the Beach neighbourhood with a focus on a healthy active lifestyle. All three reference the grocery store as the heart of the neighbourhood shown in the image of the young family enjoying a picnic on the beach with a Foodland grocery bag in the foreground. This not only shows the Foodland line of products as part of the Beaches lifestyle, but the Foodland logo on the grocery bag with the “Better food for all” slogan can also be used as the logo signature in the mural,” he explained.
Also, each mural will have an interactive area where people can take photos of themselves joining in as part of the artwork.
Kuna pointed out the concepts were still “rough designs” and he was open to hearing suggestions and feedback.
And those attending were not shy about providing that feedback.
Comments included there being too much water around the Leuty Lifeguard station in one of the proposals, not enough greenery on the trees, no dogs or dog walkers in any of the proposals, and even the lack of body-shape diversity in the proposals.
The general consensus at the meeting seemed to be leaning towards Option 1 based on comments made, though a final decision will not be made until later this month.
Kuna is hoping to start painting by the second week of June, and the mural will be unveiled as part of celebrations surrounding the Beaches International Jazz Festival on July 27.
All area residents are invited to share their input and vote on which design they like best by visiting https://muralroutes.ca/poll-beach-foodland-mural-design/ up until May 20.
Below are all three mural design options and descriptions by Kuna:
This design uses a realistic scenic approach. It references the Jazz Festival with the couple dancing in front of the Kew Gardens Gazebo (the Alex Christie Bandshell) where concerts are held on the left. Other landmarks are the Leuty Lifeguard Station and the boardwalk with a view of the Toronto skyline. The gentleman sitting with his daughter on the right will be shown holding two ice cream cones. The interactive element in this mural is the dandelion with its seeds blowing in the wind before transforming into the Victoria Day fireworks display over Ashbridges Bay.
This design uses a semi abstract approach. It uses stylized renderings of the unique house facades along Woodbine Avenue as a decorative element which ties the composition together. It also shows the boardwalk from its east and west perspective. The interactive element in this design are again the dandelion seeds blowing across the mural to show the changing of the seasons. People can take pictures of themselves blowing on the dandelion flower.
A personal favourite, this design makes use of a more abstract approach.It depicts more local landmarks such as the exterior and interior of the historic R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, the Leuty Lifeguard Station and the Kew Gardens Gazebo (the Alex Christie Bandshell). Here the Jazz Festival is referenced by the figures playing music and dancing in front of the gazebo. The boardwalk and the Toronto skyline is depicted to the right. The interactive element in the mural is the little girl running with a kite which then turns into a pattern of kites decorating the top left of the mural. One of the kites will have a string leading to the bottom where people may photograph themselves holding the kite string next to the little girl.