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Looking for images that tell the story of Elmira

A new contest sees the township and BIA looking for more outdoor art to augment the likes of the murals now in place at the Elmira Home Hardware location. [Damon MacLean]

Looking to brighten up the downtown core, the Elmira BIA business group and the Township of Woolwich are looking for local artists with a vision to do just that.

A 10-piece outdoor art installment is underway that will feature nine 8’x8’ exterior prints to be mounted on building walls, as well as one large wall mural. The team behind this new project is challenging individuals of all ages and skill levels to submit an idea for the chance of being selected as one of the 10, with organizers noting the guidelines are fairly open and loose.

The idea is to bring some attention to the downtown core in these difficult times, which have lingered for more than a year now, says Jenna Morris, the township’s economic development and tourism officer.

“What we’d really like to do and achieve with this project is up foot traffic between locals and visitors when the time is right,” she said of plans to support Elmira businesses, today and post-pandemic.

“We’ve all been through a really tough year here, and we’re not out of it yet. So hopefully this can do a couple things: bring some joy and excitement to the downtown businesses, local residents. And then visitors, when it’s safe to do so – really put Elmira on the map. We really want our businesses to thrive here and become really part of a downtown community. We are super excited about it,” said Morris.

This new project is part of the community improvement plan developed by the Elmira Business Improvement Area (BIA) in 2018, which looks at ways to make the downtown core more vibrant. Sticking with the plan’s vision, this new project is another way to meet its goal of bringing sustainable life and attention to the downtown area.

Submissions are being taken until May 16, and the winners will be announced at the end of that month. An unveiling is set for Canada Day, but how it will proceed will be determined by public health and provincial guidelines at the time. 

There will also be an art walk in the works to show off the 10 winning pieces, which may run digitally-if need be.

“A virtual ‘Art-Walk’ where people can find the information about each piece online and go through, do the art walk – they can find a map online and do the art walk on their own time, whatever that may be. But if it is safe to do so and we could do something in person, then we might have a storyteller along for a tour that people can participate in the downtown at that time,” she added.

Morris encourages people to step out of their comfort zone to join in and aim for a photo-worthy piece of art, which may be an ideal spot for Instagram-type photos.

“We want people to be excited about telling their story about Elmira. We are interested in all styles and mediums for the prints. We want the artwork to be photo worthy. We really want to put Elmira on the map. Just have fun with it – don’t be shy, submit your work.”  

Click here for more information and to submit images.

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