James Street South Mural Public Art Project

Image of James Street South Sidewalk, wall painted mural, a residence, and Go train

Banner photo credits (left to right):  Kim-Kiu Ho, Ryan McGreal, Tom Flemming, Rick Cordiero, Swire Chin

The City of Hamilton will be undertaking a public art competition to replace the existing mural located on west side of James Street South across from the GO (former TH&B) Station. The Call for Artists will be available Winter 2017.

Focus Group Report

September 29, 2016  7:00-8:30 PM
Tourism Hamilton Visitor Centre

Attendees

Caroline Sutton, Local Resident        
Bryce Huffman, Artist
Clarence Porter, Artist
Victoria Long-Wincza, Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts
Frances Murray, Durand Neighbourhood Association

Pam Mulholland, City of Hamilton, Cultural Projects Specialist (Presenter)       

Ken Coit, City of Hamilton, Program Manager Public Art & Projects (Facilitator)

Regrets
Cameron Topp
Paven Bratch
Laura Babcock
Sue Stewart-Greene

Purpose

The City of Hamilton is currently undertaking a Public Art Competition to replace the existing mural by Graham Muir located on west side of James Street South at the GO (former TH&B) Station. The purpose of this focus group is to determine themes/goals for artists to address in the public art call that will be inspirational to artists and meaningful to and representative of the local community.

Background

Pam Mulholland made a presentation outlining the City’s public art process, goals and themes presented to artists for other public art competitions, and technical criteria for outdoor murals.

3.0 Discussion

The following question was presented to the group:
What are the qualities, characteristics and stories of James Street South that you think should be the theme of the public art mural south of the T.H.& B. Railway Bridge?

  • The site has been the location of a railway station for over 100 years and has a rich history associated with the TH&B Railway current and past stations.
  • Unique Geography – the street is defined by the escarpment that terminates the view to the south and the railway-bridge and causeway to the north.
  • The neighbourhood has a very natural character with many mature trees and the treed slope of the escarpment visible rising to the south.
  • A sense of being below grade - the site for the proposed mural is the side of a cut into the ground where the road was lowered from the natural grade in the 1930s to accommodate the railway bridge.
  • The site is seen a gateway to the City for commuters and visitors as it is visible from the GO Station. It is also a gateway to the Durand Neighbourhood and to the Downtown.
  • The art should embrace the architectural heritage of the area. Consider the colour of the local building materials such as limestone and salmon-coloured brick that are prevalent in the neighbourhood.
  • The work should be reflective of the vibrant new businesses and spirit of revitalization on James Street South
  • The work should be inviting/have a sense of arrival.

4.0 Priorities

After discussion it was generally agreed that the following would be included as direction and information for the artists in the Call for Artists document.

  1. A short history of the T.H.& B. Railway and the adjacent neighbourhoods,  including the fact the public art site was originally above grade, a site where the trains crossed James Street South before the grade separation and creation of the railway bridge.
  2. That the proposed art work should be welcoming and invite a sense of arrival to Hamilton, as well as help minimize the negative effects of the railway bridge concrete structure and its dark tunnel.
  3. The subject of the mural should be reflective of an aspect of one or more of the following themes:
  4. The location as a  gateway to the neighbourhood, downtown and the city;
  • The natural character of the street as a geographic connection between the escarpment and downtown and between the historic grade and new current street level.
  • The rich architectural heritage of the Durand and Corktown neighbourhoods.
  • A vibrant community undergoing revitalization.

5.0 Next Steps

The priority statements resulting from this focus group along with technical and site criteria will be used by the City to develop a Call for Artists Document. The City will also develop a short history of the area to be included in the call document to inform artists’ proposals.

It is anticipated that this call will be issued via the Public Art page in the Winter of 2017.  Once issued, proposals from artists will be due 6-8 weeks later.

Contact us

Pam Mulholland
Public Art and Projects Section
Tourism & Culture Division, City of Hamilton
28 James Street North
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 4270
Email: pam.mulholland@hamilton.ca