The annual SPARK Photo Festival kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2016, at the historic “Y” building in downtown Peterborough with an exhibit of photographs from the height of Peterborough’s manufacturing era.
“An Ideal Small Industrial City: 1945-1965” is the title of SPARK’s showcase exhibit for 2016 and features around 90 photographs which, keeping with the exhibit’s industrial theme, are printed on aluminum panels.
The exhibit pays tribute to the rich history of the many iconic industries and drivers of economic prosperity at the time: more than 103 plants operated in Peterborough and the surrounding area by 1951.
“I grew up during the post World War II era and there was an abundance of jobs, particularly in manufacturing,” says Robert Boudreau, director of SPARK. “We never worried there wouldn’t be work or that we might have to leave our home town to find employment.”
The exhibit, which draws upon the historial collections of the Trent Valley Archives, highlights the wide range of companies and workers that comprised Peterborough’s manufacturing sector between 1945 and 1965.
The photographs provides a glimpse into the changing face of the community as the population grew, suburbs expanded, infrastructure developed, retail and recreational opportunities multiplied, and new development strategies emerged.
“We thought it would be interesting to highlight this robust period of prosperity and in doing so reveal just how dramatically the economic landscape in Peterborough has changed since transitioning from a manufacturing-based to the service based economy of today,” Boudreau explains.
“We can’t cover everything in one exhibit but, by staying close to home and dealing with such a dynamic period, we expect to trigger many memories throughout the community and to stimulate audience appreciation for Peterborough’s history and of its archival and photographic resources,” he adds.
Now in its fourth year, the SPARK Photo Festival is a volunteer-run festival highlighting the best in local photography. In addition to the showcase exhibit, there will be 43 other photo exhibits on display at local venues during the month of April, featuring the work of individual photographers, group exhibitors, and community groups. All exhibits are free.
The festival’s juried exhibit, entitled “Shadows”, will be held at The Art School of Peterborough. Judges will present arguments for their choices and awards on Saturday, April 23rd, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Festival catalogues, as well as exhibit site maps to locate the 43 exhibits and a listing of festival events, are available throughout the city. kawarthaNOW also has a dedicated events column with all the individual SPARK events.