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Civic Impact

Pan Am Path's newest mural is a reflection of the surrounding built environment

As part of the Pan Am Path Art Relay, Centennial College in Scarborough is getting a shiny new art installation—and that’s shiny in the literal sense of the word. Artist Sean Martindale worked with No. 9, a local contemporary arts organization, and students from both Centennial College and Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts, to create "Corridor Connections/Between the Lines," an homage to nature, the school, and to the changing elements of art itself.

Made of shiny reflective tape, the minimalist design incorporates words as well as images of the wildlife and flora surrounding the school. Officially unveiled on Friday July 17, the mural runs along the top of the school’s outer wall, where large capital letters instruct viewers to “Read Between the Power Lines” and “Look Up Closer.” Martindale explains that, depending on where the installation is viewed from, that message can change. “With the text, there are a few different element of wordplay going on there. It changes depending on the angle you’re looking at from. It can be read a few different ways,” he says: viewed from different angles, the angle of the walls can obscure certain words.

The metallic tape was an important element for Martindale and his student collaborators. “We thought it was a more environmentally friendly option, from a few different perspective: low VOC, less intrusive than drilling and mounting things onto the wall, and the material has a heat-reflective property. We wanted to go with something reflective because there are other elements of the building that have a polished metal finish. And it literally reflects its environment, and it changes throughout the day. Dawn and dusk, you get those nice colours as well.”

Martindale, who did the installation with the help of local architect Yvan MacKinnon, believes that involving local students in producing the mural has led to an end result that the people of Scarborough can really embrace. Devon Ostrom, the lead curator of the Pan Am Path, thinks art like this might have a larger impact. “It’s part of creating a city that’s more reflective of the character and beautification of the city. It’s an act of affection towards our trails and parks system.”
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