New Public Artwork Coming to Mississauga

Do you think Mississauga needs more public art?

A proposal was recently approved by the Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC) to have two temporary artworks installed onto the Small Arms Building-a building that’s slated to receive a pretty substantial facelift.

The pieces of art are intended to accompany the building's new launch in June as a Creative Hub for artists, entrepreneurs, community groups and other residents looking to collaborate. This art project, part of the city's Public Art Program, encourages Canadian artists or artist groups to submit proposals that will, ideally, heighten the experience for visitors to the building and showcase creativity.

Artists had a variety of options in creating the art piece. They could use LED lights, led or other materials. One requirement is that the art must be installed onto the roof and follow heritage guidelines part of the Ontario Heritage Act. This means that any fixtures to hold the artwork in place must not compromise the building itself.

The Small Arms Building was designated in 2009 under the Ontario Heritage Act and has quite a history. For that reason, it’s no surprise that the City of Mississauga and the Small Arms Society (SAS), a local group in support of presevation of the building, wanted to make adaptive reuse of the space. The property itself is located in Lakeview, between Port Credit and Longbranch, an area that has historic context with industrial and manufacturing buildings.

For those of you who don’t know about the building, it has an interesting story.

The building and five acres adjacent to the land was purchased by the City of Mississauga in 2016. Since then the building has undergone some restoration. The city acquired the property when the Toronto Conservation Authority (TCA), who once owned it, scheduled the building for demolition.

The Small Arms Building was built in 1940 and is the last the remaining structure of a larger arms manufacturing plant for World War II. The building was primarily used for administration and approximately two thirds of the workers there were women. In order to preserve this heritage and significant component of history, the SAS created a Lakeview Legacy Community Foundation. As a result, the property has not only been designated as heritage but is slowly being restored and made for re-use.

There were two artworks that were selected to be part of this project and the concepts for the pieces have been discussed but not finalized. The artists names have also not yet been revealed.

The first is a balloon structure that will be fixated temporarily to the chimney of the building. The balloon will be able to draw attention to the local community as it can be seen from the road. The balloon represent the breathing of life back into the building.

The second display will be an LED light piece that will be either fixated on top of the building or to the side and will have 12 points, like a star, illuminated in a design. This will heighten the visitor's experience in the evening and signal the creative ideas and projects within the building.

There are no current photos available of the potential artwork, however the HAC did receive some outlines on the types of projects that could be similar to the ones that have been selected.

It will cost the city $25,000+HST to have the artwork installed onto the building as well as costs of materials and engineering expenses.

The artwork will be an essential component to the opening of the Small Arms Building in Mississauga as a creative hub. The 18,000 square feet of space will be hosting a number of events, workshops and festivals this summer.

The SAS will be collaborating with a number of groups that will attract artists, entrepreneurs, community groups, learning labs, cafes, community gardens and more.

Updates to follow on the artwork and the artists selected in the project.

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