Brightening Barriers

A temporary public art project that brings original works by local and regional artists to patios throughout the downtown. 

With patio fencing serving as a canvas, Brightening Barriers offers an opportunity to turn the “barrier" of imposed separation into a collective artistic experience. This project supports visual artists by highlighting regional artists and original works of art. This project is organized by the Barrie Public Art Committee.​​​

2023 Exhibition 

Nine restaurant patios in Barrie's downtown had temporary art installations displayed on their patio fencing. Residents and visitors could explore downtown Barrie and support local businesses while appreciating the original works. The exhibition was on display until September 29, 2023.

As part of the 2023 exhibition, there were six new works, and three works that were in previous Brightening Barriers exhibitions (legacy works). Also new to the program was a partnership with the MacLaren Art Centre’s education team that led to the development of a youth mentorship opportunity, where ten youth were mentored by two professional artists to create a collaborative work of art for the exhibition. 

About the Installations

Artists were compensated for their work. The project was made possible by several sponsors: Downtown Barrie BIA, Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery, Joan and Bob Gilroy, Jackson’s Toyota, Liz and Barry Peacock, Podhradsky Medicine Professional Corporation and Royal Homes.

Project Recognition

Brightening Barriers received an International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Excellence Award in 2022 in the Neighbourhood Development category. IEDC is the largest nonprofit professional association for professional economic developers in the world. Each year, IEDC recognizes organizations for exemplary economic development marketing campaigns, projects, and programs.

Past Exhibits

For information about past exhibits, download the guides: