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