ar·ras

ˈerəs/

noun

  1. a rich tapestry, typically hung on the walls of a room or used to conceal an alcove.

   2. A tapestry weave.

   3. A curtain used as a backdrop.

 

We wouldn’t typically categorize Fairway Road or Fairview Mall in Kitchener, Ontario, as a cultural centre, but if you stop and take a look around you, like most LRT riders, you will see a strong social fabric of ethnicities, genders, generations and commerce.

 

Since 1966, CF Fairview Mall in Kitchener has been a transformative space in the Parkway neighbourhood, not just for the individuals inhabiting the community, but also as a valuable contributor to the local economy. Stores at the mall have employed generations of people. The mall as a whole is a source for trends, fashion, technology, and memories. Like the fashions housed within, the mall has undergone several changes. Increasingly, the community has come to rely on the mall and Fairway Road as an intersection, a conduit and major artery, connecting neighbourhoods, wards and cultures.

 

We want the community to experience this space not as a large expanse of paved parking spaces, or as simply a shopping centre, but to be drawn to the bright colours, textures, and recognizable patterns that reflect its history and cultural influences. The artwork at the Fairway LRT stop should awaken the senses, connect the LRT users to the history of the space, and should serve as a memorable landmark.

 

We propose to do this by applying a weather-proofed mosaic design to parts of the facade of the driver’s terminal installed at the Fairway LRT stop. Resembling textiles found in Fairway’s past, the piece Arras will combine globally known historical patterns in bright and welcoming colours, connecting designs like patchwork and forming a system of warmth and beauty.

 

For centuries, mosaics have been a proven and effective medium for placemaking. Whether walls are built to keep out the unwanted or for safety, the presence of artwork can transform these simple structures into conversation pieces, cultural landmarks and embrace the surrounding landscape. As riders approach the piece, perceptions will change. The glass, tile and found objects incorporated into the work will reflect differently as the riders approach. Up close, mosaics appear one way, and from afar they can look completely different.

 

Through a series of community art workshops, the artists will guide community members in the creation of sections of the wall, producing new and positive memories from an interactive experience that, once installed, will develop into a sense of ownership at the LRT stop. With the combined efforts of community members and the artists themselves, the sections of the mural will come together like a patchwork of fabric, softening the wall’s presence and setting the stage for the next generation of transit users.

 

The Region of Waterloo light rail transit (LRT) system will connect the three major urban centres of the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo (Ontario, Canada). 

In 2016, the Region of Waterloo requested proposals from artists for public art projects to create unique and creative spaces along the proposed ION light rail transit route. The Region received over 60 proposals, and selected 10 to commission.

In February of 2017, the regional council approved the jury's artwork selections, including our project, Arras. 

What was originally proposed as a mosaic mural on a retaining wall transformed into mosaic panels on all four sides of a driver's terminal building. See more of our proposal below.

 

We approached this project with shared interests in vibrant colours, art as a community builder, creative project management, and quality craftsmanship, the core elements of both of our arts practices. Always admirers of each other’s work, we had been looking for an ambitious opportunity to collaborate.

After two years of dreaming, deliberation, designing, drawing, planning, revising, budgeting, and more revising, the project is finally underway.

 

We hope that you will continue to follow our blog, as we post regular updates of our progress and tell the story behind the making of this mosaic tapestry.

 

Lauren Judge

Lauren Judge experiments with acrylic paint, textiles and aleatoric processes. She formalizes the coincidental and emphasizes the conscious process of composition that is behind seemingly random works. The thought processes are non-objective, unfiltered, and frequently revealed as assemblages. She masterfully creates intense personal moments with abstraction.

Lauren was raised in Kitchener, Ontario. She completed her Bachelor degree at York University, and then her Masters at the University of Waterloo. Lauren first learned about painting from her father, Martin, an accomplished local portrait artist. Her first exhibition and foray into curating was in 1997 (Ekstasis). Since 2007, Lauren has practiced professionally and now has paintings in personal collections across Canada, the US and the Netherlands.

Lauren’s interests include colour theory, design thinking, community development, international affairs, environmental history, and human behaviour.

www.laurenjudge.com

Elana Chand

Elana Zur Chand is inspired by the very core of mosaics: breaking something apart and putting the pieces back together to form something completely new, unique and beautiful.  She finds the process of cutting each piece by hand, and then laying the pieces in a deliberate pattern to form a greater image not only moving, but also beautifying.  

 

A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s business program, Elana’s career prior to becoming an artist, working at Microsoft (both in Canada and the global office in Seattle), provided her with many skills leading interdisciplinary teams, as well as managing challenging budgets and timelines. Since diving into the world of mosaics, she has taken several in-depth workshops, joined the Society of American Mosaic Artists and attended their annual conferences in Tacoma, Washington and Houston, Texas. Through these connections and associations, she has learned about the proper materials and methods to use for outdoor artwork.   

www.mozaicadesigns.com