Art Event Puts Galleries, Mural Canvas and Community Involvement in the Spotlight

October 5, 2018

ArtWalk: Community murals, gallery tours and promoting your local arts community


Owen Sound’s inaugural ArtWalk! event was a resounding success, welcoming hundreds of residents and visitors on a casual walking tour of the city’s downtown galleries.

In the weeks leading up to the event, graffiti and mural artist Billy Goodkat helped participants in groups at the REACH Centre, Community Living Owen Sound and District, and the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Union Place program in creating vivid, colourful abstract works on mural stretchers we built here at Upper Canada Stretchers and donated to the event. Over each mural, Goodkat stencilled an historic scene or building.

The murals were then featured individually in each of the seven participating downtown galleries. Each gallery offered its own programming for the day, including guided tours at the Owen Sound Artist’s Co-op, demonstrations at Intersections Wood Gallery and Studio, live paintings at Second Ave Gallery and a book launch at Grey Gallery.

The recognition of a very significant arts community in our downtown was the intention of ArtWalk! We also wanted to get people out visiting the different galleries, having the opportunity to experience the different things that are going on at each one. We want to acknowledge that everyone is making art, and a gallery is not an exclusive thing. Galleries are an integral part of your community.Maryann Thomas, ArtWalk! organizer

We sent an additional mural canvas to the Multicultural Arts Festival, where attendees were invited to decorate a fish that would become part of a beautiful school making its way to the centre of the water-coloured canvas.

ArtWalk! was a great way to get the wider community involved in the arts and break down some of the barriers that might prevent a person from walking into a gallery. Better yet, the outcome includes 8 stunning works on professional-grade mural canvas that will stand the test of time. Members of the community were excited at the opportunity to work with an artist on top quality materials and thrilled to see their works on display in a gallery.

Want to promote the arts in your community? Get in touch with us to discuss a bulk order to give your group access to professional-grade materials.

Check out these shots from ArtWalk 2018!


The Carnegie Hall at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library, stenciled over a community mural painted by participants at the REACH Centre.


On this 28″ x 60″ gallery-wrapped canvas, the Carnegie Hall at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library is stencilled over an abstract mural. It was painted by participants at the REACH Centre, a program for young adults facing developmental, physical and communication challenges. This mural was displayed at the Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op, a collective of 45 members representing a variety of mediums.


A child fills a ballot for the prize draw at the TOM Art Gallery during ArtWalk


Each of the seven participating venues offered ArtWalk! participants the chance to win a prize unique to their gallery.


Artist Billy Goodkat and the TOM's Heather Hughes with the Owen Sound ArtWalk! Farmers' Market mural


Artist Billy Goodkat and Tom Thomson Art Gallery curator Heather McLeese alongside the 28″ x 60″ Owen Sound Farmers’ Market mural. This piece was painted by members of Community Living Owen Sound & District and stencilled by Goodkat.

ArtWalk! encouraged residents and visitors to visit 7 downtown galleries


ArtWalk! encouraged community members to explore their local galleries and discover what each one has on display and to offer by way of educational programming.


Intersections Wood Gallery & Studio offered tours and demonstrations throughout the day for ArtWalk!


Upper Canada Stretchers thanks participating galleries Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op, Santa Fe Gallery, Grey Gallery, Santa Fe Gallery, Intersections WOOD Studio & Gallery, Gallery de Boer and the Tom Thomson Gallery.


At the Multicultural Arts Festival, participants created fish representative of their culture and affixed them to a large UCS mural canvas


At the Multicultural Arts Festival, participants were invited to write their name, birthplace or a message in their native language on a fish, which became part of a massive school on one of our 40″ x 46″ mural canvases. Thank you to festival organizer Jennifer Hicks for incorporating a piece of ArtWalk! into your event.


Owen Sound ArtWalk painting session at the REACH Centre in Owen Sound


Members of the REACH Centre participate in an abstract mural painting with artist Billy Goodkat. Community participants had the chance to see their artworks displayed in galleries as part of the ArtWalk! event.


Thank you for participating in Owen Sound ArtWalk


Upper Canada Stretchers and CNC Studio were proud to sponsor our community’s inaugural ArtWalk with the donation of mural canvases, mural plaques and organizational assistance. We want to extend a huge thank you to organizer and co-sponsor Maryann Thomas from Grey Bruce MOSAIC, without whom this event would not have been possible.

Thanks as well to Georgian Bay Art Conservation for sponsoring a portion of the materials, and of course to Billy Goodkat for giving your time, expertise and paints to host the community painting sessions.

It truly does take a village! And in coming together, we can promote the arts community as a whole.