Fire hall mu­ral near li­brary fad­ing

The Peterborough Examiner - - News - JOELLE KO­VACH Ex­am­iner Staff Writer joelle.ko­[email protected]­ter­bor­ough­daily.com

The fu­ture of a pair of mu­rals on a city-owned build­ing next to the pub­lic li­brary is in ques­tion — and the artist, who lives in Guelph, hopes the city won’t paint them over.

The mu­rals were done in 1999 by Greg El­liott on the white build­ing next to the li­brary.

The city bought the build­ing a few years ago.

One mu­ral — which faces Aylmer St. — com­mem­o­rates the his­toric fire hall that was torn down in 1979 to make room for the li­brary.

The other is on the wall fac­ing Bethune St., and com­mem­o­rates the his­toric rail­way sta­tion.

This week, the city’s arts and cul­ture ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee asked for a city staff re­port — due in early Fe­bru­ary — to sug­gest “op­tions to ad­dress the cur­rent mu­rals” which are be­gin­ning to fade af­ter 20 years.

The city is now build­ing a new pub­lic square next to the li­brary — which will be called Li­brary Com­mons — to house a large sculp­ture by Toronto ar­chi­tect and artist Pa­trick Li.

At a meet­ing on Thurs­day, the arts and cul­ture com­mit­tee dis­cussed how the mu­rals may look es­pe­cially faded once the new sculp­ture is in­stalled.

“They may need some re­fresh­ing,” said com­mit­tee chair­man Den­nis Carter-Ed­wards.

The com­mit­tee didn’t rule out paint­ing over the mu­rals or hav­ing an­other artist start fresh.

But com­mit­tee mem­ber Bruce Stone­house warned that the artist might have le­gal rights over the mu­rals to pre­vent them from be­ing cov­ered.

In a phone in­ter­view on Fri­day, El­liott said he has no such le­gal right — but he said each of his mu­rals (and he’s done sev­eral, over more than 40 years) means some­thing to him.

El­liott, 76, said he’s friends with lo­cal artist Ge­orge El­liott (no re­la­tion), who put him in touch with the own­ers of the build­ing back in 1999.

The build­ing was then a Money Man­agers and the own­ers wanted to com­mis­sion some­one to do the work.

Greg El­liott said two decades later, he hopes the mu­rals can re­main — per­haps with a bit of fresh­en­ing up.

“Most of the work I’ve done has lasted 20 years or bet­ter,” he said. “I al­ways got the best paint I could buy.”

The arts and cul­ture com­mit­tee meets next on Feb. 14.

CLIF­FORD SKARSTEDT EX­AM­INER

A mu­ral com­mem­o­rat­ing the his­toric fire­hall (1908-1979) by artist Greg El­liott, of Guelph, is seen fac­ing the Li­brary Com­mons on Fri­day.

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