Designed to serve two purposes, the container at Meridian Place is not only a storage facility, but a mural that adds to the beautification of downtown Barrie.
The City has for a long time needed a central storage facility to allow for better service delivery. The container, which houses winter maintenance and outdoor event equipment, also serves as a unique public art opportunity.
The mural that wraps around the container was designed by local artist Katie Green and contributes to the City’s wider downtown beautification and revitalization efforts. Grounded in a sense of local community, the artwork depicts community centres and popular team activities on one side. On the other side is Barrie’s skyline, overlayed with images of flora and fauna.
While this project started in June 2019, the theme of community is even more relevant today. Barrie strikes a unique balance between big city and nature. Centred around a beautiful bay, it has a growing arts culture, a multitude of beliefs and perspectives, but is still small enough to have conversations with strangers and to know people by name.
I was born and raised in Barrie, left for a decade, but was drawn back. While family brought me back, I have fallen in love with the community I found here as an adult. The buildings and businesses of downtown Barrie inspire my creativity and make me happy. My design has two elements, connected to the two sides of the sea can.
On one side I highlight community centres and different activities that bring people together. I have great memories of swimming in community pools, playing basketball in local gyms, and more recently paddling and rowing around the bay. It is easy to get swept up in the fast pace of life and not really look at or be grateful for the things we have. Sometimes even having certain things temporarily unavailable reminds us of how special they are.
The second side is more interactive. My intention is for people to connect with one another through my mural and social media. The shape of the city skyline is composed entirely of local flora and fauna. In a fun hide and seek you can find and share animals and plants found in our community. Each element is drawn by hand and brought together digitally. With our community unable to gather as usual, I hope this mural creates an opportunity for connection.
– Katie Green
About the Artist
Katie Green is a local Barrie artist with a passion for community and bringing art into all areas of life, ranging from public to personal and useful to decorative. Interacting with the public is a large part of her practice. She volunteers with arts organizations, teaches workshops, runs a shared artist studio space and has recently started painting murals. She operates from the idea that art is an experience that can positively impact people’s everyday lives. She works in many mediums including pen and ink, watercolour and acrylic paint, printmaking and textiles.
Pushing the boundaries from one medium to another brings her great joy, as well as playing with the line between useful design and decorative art. Her work is playful with a sense of whimsy and she is drawn to bright, neon colours. Buildings often make an appearance in her work, coming from her experience as the daughter of a local home builder. She is known for the Downtown Barrie Colouring Book, featuring 52 original drawings, as well as for her cheerful disposition. She has traveled all around the world but settled back in Barrie to be closer to family and to be part of growing the creative culture in her hometown.
You can find Katie online at katiegreen.ca.