Public art by the pond coming May 25; kicks off ‘Art Ruralz Over Here Trail’ showcasing public art

ERIN – A century-old maple tree will be revealed in a new form just over two years after it was downed in a storm that swept through Wellington County on May 21, 2022.

Hillsburgh woodworker and artist Jennifer McKinnon has been whittling away at the grain over the years to give salvaged parts of the tree a new life as public art at the county’s Hillsburgh library branch.

The official reveal is planned for May 25 at the library, which coincides with a new event coined Arts by the Pond.

Organized by Over Here Community Arts Adventure, a grassroots non-profit, Arts by the Pond will further Over Here’s ethos of showcasing public art.

Over Here orchestrated five collaborative art pieces to be mounted on the side of the Hillsburgh Community Centre by May 25.

The community event will host creative activities, storytelling, entertainment and art installations from 10am to 4pm at the library property.

McKinnon, who is behind the initiative, told the Advertiser Arts by the Pond will be the kickoff for the Art Ruralz Over Here Trail, which features a self-guided tour of public art around town.

McKinnon hopes the trail becomes something special for visitors and residents alike to engage with over the years as more works are added.

On May 25, the community is invited to join in plein air painting, led by Robin Symmes, with painting kits provided.

There will also be a djembe drum circle with Tom Wolf, chef Thornton MacDonald will serve a signature event dish, Martyna Sliwiak will prepare alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, and local authors Wendy Swackhammer and Steve Bergwerff will read children’s books.

With the event still roughly two months away, more groups and activites are expected to be added, McKinnon said. Updates will be posted on Over Here’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

McKinnon’s hoping for a turnout of at least 500 people on the Saturday, and monetary donations to help pay for the event, and fund future community-based, collaborative artwork projects.

“As we grow we really need something that gives residents and newcomers something they can share together and enjoy, and art is a great way to do that — it has great power,” McKinnon said.