A local community arts group revealed new permanent public artwork in Windsor’s west end Friday that was inspired by youth experiences in the city.
Colourful maps and signs, along with picnic tables are some of the latest additions in Windsor’s Queen Dock park as part of the West End Art Project’s newly launched display. Project coordinator Veronica Samek teamed up with the Vanguard Youth Arts Collective to showcase the work of local artists.
The project, which was supposed to launch in March but got pushed because of the pandemic, has been funded by the Gordie Howe International Bridge Community Benefits Plan.
With the extra time, Samek said they launched a survey to find out what residents want to see.
“When you look, especially in this area, you kind of have to think about the future right,” she said.
“So if you look at what happens next, it’s really affecting the youth, so the youth narrative it can be captured by art, it does have that expression and you really have to find a language that can speak to all people and that’s what art can do.”
While most of the artwork will be at Queen’s Dock park, another piece is located at Dominion House Tavern.
In total, 17 artists contributed to the display, one of whom is the Vanguard Youth Arts Collective’s Kristina Bradt.
Bradt helped create the map of the west end, which includes locations that locals flagged to them in the survey. Some of these locations are popular spots, places that people want to visit or ones that people want to see recognized more.
“We wanted to do it in a very vibrant, colourful way, something eye-catching when people walk up to the park or when people walk by,” Bradt said.
“Maybe they’d see a name of a place that maybe they don’t recognize and that would pursue them to go on an adventure and go outside and really explore especially during the times of COVID … we cant really always connect together but we can go and connect with nature and be outside and visit our city that way.”
Bradt is from Essex County but says she has lived in the west end for the last eight years.
“[This] is a great opportunity, I feel more connected with the city, with youth, with my friends, fellow artists,” she said.
Artist Samantha Enriquez, vice-president of Vanguard Youth Collective, focused on a design that showcases all the food that can be found on Wyandotte Street West. Everything from ramen to Windsor’s famous pizza, sushi and bubble tea are featured.
“I’ve lived in Windsor for 8 years now and it’s felt like a home now and especially making memories with friends in these areas it was really special for me to make a mark here,” she said.
East end Windsorites Jeff Seguin and David Krietze were in attendance and browsing the new pieces, which they said “bring up the area.”
“I think it’s kind of cool,” Seguin said. “I really think its a nice project that’s due for the west end. They couldn’t have it in a better spot.”