The Bancroft Business Improvement Association revealed in a post on its Facebook page on August 25 that there is new artwork on the side wall of one of the town’s local businesses, which is part of the BBIA street art. The artwork, by Bancroft artist Mike van Roon, is a brightly colored image of a sparrow that is now proudly displayed on the north wall of local business Alice’s Pantry.
This artwork titled Sparrow by van Roon is part of the BBIA’s Street Art project. The piece was prepped for the outdoors and mounted on the wall by It Stix Signs and Graphics Inc. BBIA Board Executive Director Jody Yantha said the Street Art project will include the creation of a page on their website, www.DiscoverBancroft.com, which will catalog all existing street art, as well as new pieces.
“The website will contain information about the plays and the artists. The BBIA believes that street art has many benefits such as; public art makes people happy and energizes the streets. All at once, it can be beautiful, smart and inspiring. It is an expression of culture and identity that promotes social ties. It’s a way to introduce people to art and to appreciate art. It’s a great way to encourage visitors and residents to explore the streets and alleyways, which connect people to the environment and inspire them to engage in healthy outdoor activities. It also helps to create a safer community. A source of pride, inclusive and accessible, art transforms public space in unexpected ways,” she says.
Yantha says van Roon responded to the call for submissions, which requested a variety of works that expressed the heart, mind and soul of Bancroft. She says it was an existing watercolor that was adapted for the project, so it didn’t take too long to get it ready.
The BBIA board’s project committee actively sought out hosting locations for the artworks, according to Yantha, and hosts received submission submissions that were approved by the committee.
“The owners of 99 Hastings St. [where Alice’s Pantry is located] were thrilled to have Mike’s Impressionist Sparrow for their wall and there was no doubt it was the perfect spot,” she says.
Alice Martin, the owner of Alice’s Pantry, confirms this, saying her owner approached her about the art and they were both great with the idea. She also mentions It Stix Signs and Graphics Inc., which also did the graphics for her company’s windows. She reveals that they were easy to deal with, so encouraging and very professional.
“That’s great [the BBIA] want to do small things to improve the downtown core and the small businesses there. That’s what they do and it feels like they’re doing that and it’s really good,” she says.
Accepted contributions to the Street Art Project will receive a minimum honorarium of $100. For more information or to submit an application, email [email protected]
Yantha says the BBIA has had an outpouring of positive feedback on the pieces that have been installed so far, 20 pieces and counting, and they plan to place as many pieces as the budget will allow for the project. She says the BBIA was able to secure a public art grant and they will be happy to announce the funder shortly.
“We invite and encourage artists of all ages and abilities to submit artwork for the project, but there is a tight deadline for the completion of this project, the deadline is fast approaching and the weather will also become a postman,” she said.
Andrea Humeniuk has lived in Bancroft for a few years and is the owner of Local Goods Bancroft.
“I pass on foot or by car in front of the site of the work of art every morning. I noticed it right away and I’m happy to see new public art downtown,” she says. “It’s a great way to brighten up a blank wall and our city.”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times