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Community art project part of Doors Open Owen Sound

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Doors Open Owen Sound sites will feature some community artwork projects when they welcome in the public on Saturday.

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An exhibit of doors painted by local artists and community organizations will be a part of Doors Open Owen Sound when 21 different locations in the city are open to the public to visit free of charge.

Made up of doors donated by the Owen Sound ReStore, The Doors Open Exhibit is the brainchild of artist Jennifer Hicks, who is relatively new to Owen Sound, but as a former teacher with a passion for community, she wanted to give back her skills and knowledge to others.

“It has been terrific,” said Hicks. “It is just a great circle of connections we have created and I just love that. It is what we live for.”

This year artists and community groups have teamed up to design seven doors. They include: artists Lydia Knox, Leslie Bankes and Billy Goodkat who worked with Community Living Owen Sound; Melissa D’souza Harris who worked with the Owen Sound Muslim Association; Pam Woodward who worked with the Georgian Bay Lacemakers, Lauren Best who worked with the Youth Elevating Youth collective; and Hicks who worked with At Last Forest Schools and the Grey Bruce Pregnancy Centre.

The doors will be on display at Mudtown Station, Highland Manor Inn, the Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op, the city’s wastewater treatment plant and Owen Sound Muslim Association, which are official stops of the Doors Open Owen Sound event, along with other locations, including Tone Yoga Studio at 900 1st Ave. W. and in the front window of the Community Living Owen Sound office at 834 2nd Ave. E.

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Hicks said many of the participants in the project have expressed a desire to take in the tour on Saturday.

“Doors Open is about bringing people out to see things they normally wouldn’t get to see and into buildings they wouldn’t normally get into and learn about the heritage of the place, and all of these community organizations we have worked with have become more familiar with the whole Doors Open tour,” Hicks said. “The Forest School kids and parents are so excited about going down to Mudtown Station to have a meal because their door is going to be there.”

While the ReStore at Springmount donated most of the doors for this year’s event, Hicks has already secured doors for next year’s event after the Smith and Hladil Home Hardware on the Sunset Strip got wind of the project and committed to donate all the doors for next year.

Hicks hopes to expand the project next year and get 20 artists involved.

There are 21 locations in this year’s Doors Open Owen Sound, which is part of a province-wide initiative of the Ontario Heritage Trust meant to offer access, enhance awareness and encourage excitement about heritage.

Owen Sound junior planner Justin Teakle said the event is popular, with more than 3,000 people taking part in recent years.

This year’s event has been condensed to one day, whereas in the past it has been held over the course of a weekend.

Teakle said they had many sites interested in being part of the event, but for only one day, which created scheduling complications and was difficult to make clear to those participating. They decided to try it for one day this year, see what the feedback is like and then decide how to move forward in the future.

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This year there are nine sites that are either new to the event or haven’t been a part of it for a while, including 92.3 The Dock, the newly renovated Grey County Administration Building, The Ginger Press, the former U.S. Consulate House at 932 3rd Ave. W., the Owen Sound Artists Co-op, the Owen Sound Police Services station, the city’s wastewater treatment plant and Rogers TV studio.

This year’s theme is Communication, so some of the sites, including The Dock, Rogers TV, U.S. Consulate House and the old post office fit into that theme, Teakle explained.

Also part of the event is the Wiidosendiwag-Walking Together Tour, which leaves from First United Church throughout the day. Mudtown Station will hold tours of its brewery in the morning, while the police station will have tours in the afternoon.

A map of the sites is available by visiting the City of Owen Sound or the Doors Open Ontario websites. A map was also published in Saturday’s Sun Times.

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