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HFA looking for artists to paint canoe murals

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Just over a week is left to apply to paint a set of canoes in downtown Huntsville.

The Huntsville Festival of the Arts (HFA) has put out a call for artists to paint seven more canoes for this year’s Group of Seven Canoe Murals, with a deadline of May 27.

According to Dan Watson, the HFA’s executive director, they’re looking for six artistically-minded people to each pick a different member of the group.

“This time what we’re [doing] is putting an open call out to artists to propose a mural to do on a canoe,” says Watson. “They can be inspired by Tom Thomson or the Group of Seven. It doesn’t have to be a faithful recreation of one of their paintings, you get to take some liberties with it.”

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The canoes will be painted in the open at Huntsville’s River Mill Park at the end of June, with local artist Gerry Lantaigne leading the group. Each selected artist will receive an honorarium of $1,000, as well as the necessary paints and a canoe to paint on.

The canoes will then be displayed in the park through the summer as part of the Huntsville Art Crawl, then at the Eclipse Walk with Light art installation at Muskoka Heritage Place through the winter, finally being sold to benefit charity at 2023’s Algonquin Outfitters Paddle Art Auction.

The first seven canoe murals were painted by Lantaigne in 2020, with a second set focusing on Tom Thomson painted by local artists led by Lantaigne in 2021. With the Group of Seven’s history in the area, Watson says it’s a natural project to continue on.

“It’s a well known connection here, and you can see it with all the murals around town,” says Watson. “The canoes have been super popular. People seem to like them and it’s a nice little attraction downtown. Tourists and people come and take their photos with it, look at the art. It’s a very cool project.”

You can find application forms and more information at the Huntsville Festival of the Arts website. 

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