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 have temporary art installations displayed on their patio fencing. Residents and visitors can explore downtown Barrie and support local businesses while appreciating the original works. The exhibition is on display until September 30, 2023.

As part of the 2023 exhibition, there are six new works, and three works that have been in previous Brightening Barriers exhibitions (legacy works). Also new to the program is 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.

Participating Downtown Patios and Featured Artworks

LocationArtist and piece name 
125 Dunlop Street East
​​Window Watching by Marne Grahlman
The North
49 Mary Street
Downtown Disco by Vivian Heliotis
50 Dunlop Street East Unit 100
Hearts of the City by Monica Loney
Groovy Tuesday's Bistro​ 
73 Collier Street
FREE! by MacLaren Youth
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery​ 
107 Dunlop Street East
Ultra Pose by Neil Smith
​​McReilly’s Pub
82 Dunlop Street East ​
Fishbowl by Michael Ciesielski
North Country
10 Dunlop Street East
The Land Between Rama and Barrie I & II by The Birdbath Collaboration
(2021 legacy work)
Kenzington Burger Bar
40 Dunlop Street East
​It's a Dog's Life by Christina Luck
(2021 legacy work)
​Michael & Marion’s
​89 Bayfield Street
​​Garden Party by PRNT Collective
(2022 legacy work)

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.