New art installations are revitalizing Barton Village

Michelle Li
November 24, 2022
Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

The City of Hamilton and the Downtown BIA are bringing Barton Village back to its former glory through local art installations. 

Hamilton is well known as a steel town. Back in the industrial days, most steel factories were located around Barton St. and as such it was quite a popular district. However, once factories started closing, many stores also followed and people began moving out of the neighbourhood and it became a street people avoided

Barton St. is currently going through a transition period where various projects and initiatives are changing tides and bringing the street back to what it once was. Among these projects, the City of Hamilton and the Downtown Hamilton BIA team launched an art project between Ferguson Ave. and Sherman Ave. in Barton Village. 

The art project features installations from 15 local artists in vacant storefronts along the street. Artists were selected based on how well they represent the artistic side of Hamilton using the people, places and history of Barton St.  

Currently the project features works from a variety of artists. Kayla Whitney, an artist and muralist who created a piece titled “Alive and Well” to highlight the legacy of Barton St. amidst its rough history. Allison + Cam, an illustration duo who aimed to portray their vision of Barton Street’s bright future through their art installation titled “Ring Out, Barton!”.  

David Trautimas, a multimedia artist who drew a large-scale Aloe Vera plant titled “Occupational Salve” to mirror Barton Street’s history and future as the plant is dependent on periods of rest and successive active growth. Edgardo Moreno, a composer and sound designer who filmed a video about the attempted revitalizations of Barton St. titled “A Fragile Balance.”  

Kyle Stewart, a visual artist highlights the theme of “Anything is possible on Barton” through his work titled “Sunnyside of the Street” which emphasizes the strong community in Barton Village. Gram + Laura, who are independent artists that collaborated to produce an art installation titled “Barton Bright/Barton Night” which aims to convey its quirky and vibrant night life as opposed to a street that should be avoided at night.  

Sunny Singh, an illustrator and cartoonist depicted a hazy memory (the past) or a dream (the future) in his piece “A Place to Play” to provide a sense of community and playfulness. Quinn Rockliff, an interdisciplinary artist who portrayed the unexpected everyday moments of tenderness and care that he encountered in Barton Village through his piece titled “Round Corners.” Chris Perez, an artist who created abstracted images using mundane objects in his mural titled “Everywhere you Enjoy.”  

Jordan Gorle, an artist and blacksmith who honoured Hamilton’s industrial heritage through his piece “steel IS art”, which brings steel back to Barton Village. Julianna Biernacki and Dayna Gedney (Hamilton Craft Studios), an artist duo who created a collaborative tufted rug installation representing Barton Village’s communal spaces changing over time.  

Sonny Bean, an illustrator who took pictures that highlight the past, present and future of Barton Village through his work titled “Intersect” which features a tiger, gardens, ladders that read for the stars and transformation. Andrew O'Connor, a multidisciplinary artist and designed who compiled Barton Street’s evolution from its celebrated industrial past to its hopeful future through his work titled “Our will to build and rebuild.”  

Par Nair, an interdisciplinary artist who wrote letters on silk sarees using hand embroidery to the “mother” in her piece titled “Letters of haunting” to represent the mute history of Barton Village. Anthony Haley, a visual artist who combined the revival and what is yet to come for Barton Street in his art installation titled “None of them knew they were Robots”. 

The team behind the Barton St. revitalization project hopes these pop-up window installations will help share the story of this community and foster a sense that it is a place that values art and culture.  

“We have a nice collection of small, independent businesses and we hope to grow that. We hope that your experience on Barton is much different than any of the other main strips in Hamilton,” said Jessica Myers, the Executive Director of the Barton Village Business Improvement Area

During the revitalization of Barton St., the team also wants to make sure they maintain the neighbourhood’s essence it had back in the day in Hamilton. 

“[Barton Village] has a grittiness that people do enjoy, kind of [like it] hasn't been scrubbed clean just yet . . . people like that original Hamilton vibe that's a bit lost in other neighbourhoods right now . . . and it’s what we want to maintain,” said Myers. 

“[Barton Village] has a grittiness that people do enjoy, kind of [like it] hasn't been scrubbed clean just yet . . . people like that original Hamilton vibe that's a bit lost in other neighbourhoods right now . . . and it’s what we want to maintain."

Jessica Myers, Executive Director of Barton Village Business Improvement Area

Moving forward, the City of Hamilton and Downtown BIA teams hope to attract more investors to continue funding projects aimed at creating a visually appealing streetscape for Barton’s businesses and residents. 

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