Sculptures bring art to the Grand Bend waterfront

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GRAND BEND — Beachgoers in Grand Bend will be able to enjoy new art installations this summer after two metal sculptures were added to the area.

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The Grand Bend Art Center installed the metal sculptures near the roundabout on Main Street West with the help of the Vibrancy Fund program and local community groups, commissioning artists to create the new installations.

“People always take pictures with them,” said Grand Bend Art Center Executive Director Teresa Marie Phillips. “It’s just a great way to share art in Grand Bend.”

The carvings may be familiar to residents of Grand Bend, who may have spotted the metallic sturgeon and music-inspired ironwork at the entrance to Paint Ontario 2021 at the Lambton Heritage Museum.

One of the sculptures, the metal sturgeon, was created by metalworker Scott McKay of Strong Arm Forge. McKay’s work can also be found locally in Southcott Pines and across Ontario in places like St. Thomas and Thunder Bay.

“He’s a great guy and he’s well known,” Phillips said of McKay.

After the sturgeon sculpture was installed, the Grand Bend Art Center launched an online poll to name the fish depicted in the sculpture. As of April 28, the name “Gillie” had received more than double the votes than other options such as “Stuey” and “Darth Baiter” had garnered.

The other sculpture, which depicts various musical instruments and musical notes, was made by Murals in Metal of Lucan, whose work can also be viewed by the public throughout the region in areas such as Lucan, St. Marys , Zürich and more.

Murals in Metal of Lucan created a music-inspired sculpture that was described as “interactive” by Grand Bend Art Center executive director Teresa Marie Phillips. Dan Rollh

Phillips said she had hoped to create an interactive feeling with the sculptures commissioned by the Art Center, and that the sculpture created by Murals in Metal was a prime example of that interactivity.

The sculptures are a continuation of an ongoing project to bring art to the Grand Bend waterfront which had already seen the installation of several murals on the Grand Bend beach house by artists such as Richard Lawler, Suzette Terry and David Banister.

Since the sculptures were installed, Phillips said community feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and there are plans to continue bringing new artwork to the waterfront with new murals.

“It was a good community project,” Phillips said. “It’s all part of the art of bringing art into this realm.”