As we talk about public art in Welland it’s time to consider those murals from the Festival of Arts that are now lost. This was the motivation behind a recent exhibition at the Welland Historical Museum titled Gone but Never Forgotten: A Look At Welland’s Outdoor Murals.
ROSS BEARD | THE POND – NEW YEAR’S DAY, 1988 (formerly located at 188 East Main Street, Welland, ON)
“All three murals by Beard depicted the history of the Welland Canal in different stages: the first canal, fourth canal and the bypass. The three pictures contain a foreground emphasized by seemingly abstract foliage on the picture surface, while the middle ground focuses on the canal subject matter depicted in a meandering pattern. Beard includes building structures of some sort on the horizon, punctuated by the towers of a Welland Canal Bridge rendered with atmospheric perspective in the far distance.
Beard’s mural no longer exists due to the fact that it had been severely vandalized and damaged on numerous occasions over the years. When the building was sold the mural was removed by the new owners due to the excessive costs involved in repairing it.” (from Andrew Bucsis’ research on the Welland Murals)
This – as we have recently seen with Beard’s Towpath Mural – isn’t a new story, but one WCN and other stakeholders hope to change as regards public art in Welland.
This mural was recently commemorated by James Takeo as part of the Welland Bell Box Mural project with a work you can enjoy on Division Street near Hellems Avenue. Takeo’s piece reinterprets The Pond – New Year’s Day and adds an image of Ross Beard himself. Beard was essential to the development of many contemporary artists in Welland and is one of the finest artists in the cultural history of the city of Welland.
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Ross Beard, The Pond – New Year’s Day, 1988 | James Takeo, Tribute to Ross Beard, Division Street near Hellems Avenue, 2021 | Ross Beard working on his mural, 1988