Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) has launched a call for submissions for the Fall 2020 Gritty to Pretty Placemaking Program. Gritty to Pretty includes three grants: Open Grant, Façade Lighting Grant, and Mural Grant. This is the fifth year of the program, which was developed to award a limited number of grants for placemaking projects located in Downtown Halifax. These projects contribute to DHBC’s placemaking efforts to help Downtown Halifax encourage civic pride, support local economies, and improve public health – among other benefits.
"During this time of COVID-19, it's important to keep supporting our local artists and businesses and continue to invest in Downtown," said Paul MacKinnon, CEO of DHBC. "We had a great first round of applications this past spring. I look forward to seeing what creative ideas we receive this fall to enhance the pedestrian experience for Downtown workers, locals, and visitors."
To be considered for DHBC funding, applicants are asked to submit a completed Open Grant, Façade Lighting Grant, or Mural Grant application form at www.downtownhalifax.ca/grittytopretty. Additional documents that describe and support funding requests are encouraged. The deadline for applications for all three grants is Friday, October 9, 2020.
The Open Grant is for those who simply have a brilliant idea to make Downtown Halifax even more beautiful and the commitment to get the project done. Applicants for the Open Grant do not have to be urban planners or professional artists to be eligible. The Façade Lighting Grant seeks to improve the architectural street-wall lighting of buildings on main commercial streets in Downtown Halifax. The Mural Grant is aimed at qualified artists/muralists and its main purpose is to add colour to the pedestrian experience. Here are the grant recipients from spring 2020:
Open Grant Spring 2020 recipients (in alphabetical order):
Applicant: Friends of Raymond Taavel Park – $2,975
Location: Raymond Taavel Park (project completed)
Overview: “Creative Candles” were created to continue to beautify the park with a creative community engagement and beautification project. Friends of Raymond Taavel commissioned a local artist/woodworker to make 200 wooden “candles.” They were professionally prepared and then distributed to citizens to paint and decorate as they liked. Members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community were invited to add names of friends, family, activists, and allies in remembrance.
Applicant: PBJ Design Society – $3,876
Location: Bus shelter on Barrington Street before Spring Garden Road (project completed)
Overview: The Bus Shelter Beautification project was designed to celebrate bus life and beautify the bus shelter on Barrington Street. The design for the bus shelter is a repeating pattern of brightly coloured triangles. The mural was painted on four panels of plywood prior to installation with high-quality paints and an anti-graffiti coating.
Mural Grant Spring 2020 recipients (in alphabetical order):
Applicant: Rachel Anzalone, Luke Fair, Joseph Pesina – $8,500
Location: Overpass connecting George Street to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia courtyard (project in progress)
Overview: “Between the Sea and Sky” is a colourful mural made of rectangular wooden tiles inspired by the sky and water of the Halifax Harbour. The tiles will be nested in the vertical recesses of the retaining wall surrounding the access point of the overpass that connects George Street to the courtyard of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
Applicant: Daniel Burt – $3,500
Location: 1326 Barrington Street, wall facing Blowers Street (project completed)
Overview: Using a combination of acrylic paint and spray paint, the design of the “Connection” mural is big, colourful, and bold. The concept is two hands held together, creating a bond, painted in multiple colours so that they are not viewed as any particular race or sex – only human. This mural is for the people who go out of their way to help others. It represents the helping hand in a literal way by painting one hand holding onto the other.
Applicant: Mike Burt – $6,000
Location: North Side of 1600 Graft Street (project completed)
Overview: The mural by Mike Burt is called “Warrior.” It is a dynamic street-art version of a warrior during a struggle. The main purpose of this mural is to be visually stimulating with bright and bold colours.
Applicant: Sarah Cannon – $4,487
Location: I Heart Bikes (project completed)
Overview: “Sea Troll” depicts a green-haired figure in the depths of the dark water, surrounded by their nudibranch and jellyfish companions. Artist Sarah Cannon invites the public to explore their surroundings and find the magic in their natural world. Consistent with Halifax’s natural heritage and proximity to the sea, her concept leverages visually striking marine life to foster exploration and curiosity.
Applicant: Drew McSherry – $1,503
Location: 1809 Barrington Street, corner of Duke and Granville Streets (project in progress)
Overview: The mural “The Fun and Beaty Performance’” celebrates Halifax and its support of local and emerging performers and musicians through its annual Busker Festival. The mural depicts several animals that would not interact in the wild. Through these animals, it shows that the Busker Festival and the city of Halifax provides people of different cultural backgrounds and experiences to come together and create something beautiful.
Applicant: Amber Solberg – $4,723
Location: 1660 Hollis Street (project completed)
Overview: The “BEE KIND” mural by Amber Solberg, Dylan Smibert, Elyse Moir, and Erica Meschwitz creates a brightly-coloured, bee-based mural in an unusual setting for passersby. Making use of an under-utilized building step, this mural covers the top and side with a repeating pattern of honeycombs in blues and yellows, professional artists will add their “icing on the cake” in the form of large, detailed honey bees and painterly Nova Scotian wildflowers.
A NOTE REGARDING COVID-19: For the health, safety, and well-being of staff, members, and the public, DHBC is currently following the directives of the Nova Scotia Health Authority. DHBC asks that Gritty to Pretty grant applicants and recipients follow these directives when researching, creating, or installing Gritty to Pretty placemaking projects to aid in containing and avoiding the spread of the virus.