Temporary art installations displayed on patios of downtown Barrie restaurants

Nine restaurants are participating in the Brightening Barriers public art project

News release from City of Barrie

Nine restaurant patios in Barrie’s downtown now have temporary art installations displayed on their patio fencing as part of the Brightening Barriers public art project, which pairs local and regional artists with downtown businesses. The exhibition is on display until September 30, 2023. ​

“Brightening Barriers was originally organized with an aim to relieve the physical separation necessary during the pandemic; turning a “barrier” of imposed separation into a collective artistic experience,” says Stephannie Schlichter, Director of Economic and Creative Development. “As we head into the third year of this program, this exhibition has evolved to become a celebrated and highly anticipated annual event in downtown Barrie.”

As part of the 2023 exhibition, there are six new works, and three works that have been in previous Brightening Barriers exhibitions (legacy works). Also new to the program is a partnership with the MacLaren Art Centre’s education team that led to the development of a youth mentorship opportunity, where ten youth were mentored by two professional artists to create a collaborative work of art for the exhibition.

The participating downtown patios and featured artworks in 2023 are:

Bohemia – Window Watching by Marne Grahlman
The North – Downtown Disco by Vivian Heliotis
P_zza – Hearts of the City by Monica Loney
Groovy Tuesdays Bistro – FREE! by MacLaren Youth
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery – Ultra Pose by Neil Smith
McReilly’s Public House – Fishbowl by Michael Ciesielski
North Country – The Land Between Rama and Barrie I & II by The Birdbath Collaboration (2021 legacy work)
Kenzington Burger Bar – It’s a Dog’s Life by Christina Luck (2021 legacy work)
Michael & Marion’s – Garden Party by PRNT Collective (2022 legacy work)

The Brightening Barriers initiative has been recognized with awards from the International Economic Development Council for Excellence in Neighbourhood Development and an Honourable Mention from the Economic Development Council of Ontario.

Brightening Barriers is organized by the Barrie Public Art Committee. To learn more about works on display as part of this project, visit “Brightening Barriers” at barrie.ca/PublicArt.

The Brightening Barriers project was made possible by several sponsors: Downtown Barrie BIA, Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery, Joan and Bob Gilroy, Jackson’s Toyota, Liz and Barry Peacock, Podhradsky Medicine Professional Corporation and Royal Homes.