Outdoor public art exhibit of painted canoe paddles comes to downtown Peterborough in February

Painted by volunteer community artists, paddles will be auctioned off to raise funds for One City Employment Program

Carlotta James of Peterborough Pollinators with her 7-year-old son Salvador Haines, who painted this canoe paddle for the Painted Paddle art exhibit, which features 20 canoe paddles painted by volunteer artists on display at various locations in downtown Peterborough throughout February. Salvador says his paddle art, called The Elements, "represents the balance in nature with flowers blooming during the day and its roots growing by night, surrounded by the four elements: light blue for air, dark blue for water, red for fire and green for earth. Also, there’s a secret word painted in the roots, can you find it?". (Photo: Peterborough Pollinators / Facebook)
Carlotta James of Peterborough Pollinators with her 7-year-old son Salvador Haines, who painted this canoe paddle for the Painted Paddle art exhibit, which features 20 canoe paddles painted by volunteer artists on display at various locations in downtown Peterborough throughout February. Salvador says his paddle art, called The Elements, "represents the balance in nature with flowers blooming during the day and its roots growing by night, surrounded by the four elements: light blue for air, dark blue for water, red for fire and green for earth. Also, there’s a secret word painted in the roots, can you find it?". (Photo: Peterborough Pollinators / Facebook)

A new outdoor public art exhibit featuring 20 canoe paddles painted by volunteer artists in the community is coming to downtown Peterborough in February.

Presented by the Downtown Vibrancy Project, the Painted Paddle art exhibit will be installed in street-front windows at various locations through the downtown area, including the Peterborough & the Kawartha Tourism Visitor Centre, Le Petit Bar, St. Veronus, Boardwalk Game Lounge, Sam’s Deli, Black Honey Bakery, Cork and Bean, B!KE, Watson and Lou, Cottage Toys, By The Bridge, GreenUp Store, Night Kitchen, Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area office, Meta4 Gallery, The Avant-Garden Shop, Sustain, Bluestreak Records, and Peterborough Social Services.

For those interested in taking a self-guided tour of the Painted Paddle exhibit, a Google map of all locations is available at linktr.ee/LoveForTheBoro, where you can also find a link to vote for your favourite paddles.

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“Art brightens the spirit and has a way of making people feel good,” says Tracie Bertrand, director of tourism at Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. “The Painted Paddle art project will put a smile on people’s faces as they fondly reflect on their memories of being outdoors here in Peterborough and the Kawarthas.”

Some of the people and organizations who have contributed paddle art for the project include Peterborough mayor Diane Therrien, Hiawatha First Nation, Wiigwaas Hiawatha Store, Peterborough Police Service, Peterborough DBIA, GreenUP, Trent Gzowski College, Trent Veg Garden, Peterborough Pollinators, Princess Gardens Retirement Residence, Empress Gardens Retirement Residence, St. Anne’s School, VegFest, B!KE, the Art School of Peterborough, city councillors Kim Zippel and Kemi Akapo, mother-and-daughter team Eileen and Kendron Kimmett, local Anishinaabe artist Kyler Kay, and local artist Tiphaine Lenaik.

“The paddle creates a unique way to honour and acknowledge the original families in Treaty 20,” says Tim Cowie, lands and resource consultant with Hiawatha First Nation, one of many creative community members who lent their artistic skills to the Painted Paddle project. Cowie painted his paddle to look like a piece of birch bark (wiigwaas) and painted the clans (dodems) on his paddle to showcase the family ties of the Michi Saagiig.

Retired police officer Kelleigh Traynor-Hartnett paints a paddle on behalf of the Peterborough Police Service for the Painted Paddle art exhibit, which features 20 canoe paddles painted by volunteer artists. The self-guided exhibit will be on display at various locations throughout downtown Peterborough during February. (Photo courtesy of Peterborough DBIA)
Retired police officer Kelleigh Traynor-Hartnett paints a paddle on behalf of the Peterborough Police Service for the Painted Paddle art exhibit, which features 20 canoe paddles painted by volunteer artists. The self-guided exhibit will be on display at various locations throughout downtown Peterborough during February. (Photo courtesy of Peterborough DBIA)

Jill Stevens, economic development officer of Hiawatha First Nation, incorporated Michii Saagiig culture as part of their painted paddle installation.

“Having a paddle as the canvas was the perfect backdrop for the Hiawatha logo, which depicts someone paddling through manomin (wild rice) stands,” Stevens says.

The Painted Paddle exhibit will be on display in downtown Peterborough from Monday, February 1st until Friday, March 5th.

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Painted paddles from the exhibition will be available in a virtual auction beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 19th and continuing until 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 4th, just before the March First Friday Peterborough art crawl.

Proceeds from the auction at www.32auctions.com/paintedpaddles will go towards the One City Employment Program, which provides meaningful work to those with barriers to traditional employment.

Salvador Haines at work on his paddle for the Painted Paddle art exhibit. The paddles will be auctioned off to raise funds for the One City Employment Program, which provides meaningful work to those with barriers to ?traditional employment.  (Photo: Peterborough Pollinators / Facebook)
Salvador Haines at work on his paddle for the Painted Paddle art exhibit. The paddles will be auctioned off to raise funds for the One City Employment Program, which provides meaningful work to those with barriers to ?traditional employment. (Photo: Peterborough Pollinators / Facebook)

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