Wooden Pallets Used As Trail Artwork In CanadaAssociated Pallets


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Using Painted Wooden Pallets to Create Artwork for Trail

22 Sep 2017

We rely on wooden pallets to bring food to the supermarket and goods to our stores, but hardly notice them as items in themselves.

In Greater Napanee in Ontario, Canada, this is all changing. Pallets are being used as the ‘canvasses’ for artworks that are being displayed along the Napanee River Trail, in Conservation and Springside Parks, at the Waterfront River Pub & Terrace, and in a community park.

Artists submit designs that can be scaled up

Artists who want to join in and submit a work for possible display are helped in their applications by a package that includes a project design sheet and helpful guidance on submitting work for public display. The used wooden pallets are ready primed; depending on their location, they are painted on one or both sides. One of the challenges for the artists is to submit a design on the project design sheet that can be scaled up to pallet size.

Once the local arts and culture committee has accepted the design, it goes into a portfolio. Any sponsor can then look through the works in the portfolio and choose the one they want to sponsor. Sponsors pay a fee to cover the pallet and paint, the artist’s work, and the signage announcing their sponsorship. What is great is that local families have been stepping up as sponsors, as have businesses and groups; however, more sponsors are always needed.

Sponsors work with the artists

The next step is for the sponsors to work with the artist and the committee to find the perfect location for the artwork. The artworks can also be exhibited on private land, provided the public can view them.

The project already has six pallets on the go, but is aiming for 20. The idea is that people will be able to walk along a trail from one artwork to another. Once all 20 are in place, there may even be a driving tour around Greater Napanee.

The pallets that have been completed show the diversity of the artists’ imaginations. Along the river trail, between Conservation Park and Springside Park, there is a painting of a large turtle. There are also lots of references to local scenes and to the maritime history of the area. One pallet shows scenes of Springside Park, and a painting called ‘Ships ‘n’ Sails’ in Conservation Park features the Lyman Davis, a ship that made frequent calls at Napanee. The other side of this pallet, which has a painting of local geese, is entitled ‘Heads ‘n’ Tails’.

What happens to the artworks as winter sets in? They will be taken down in late autumn – November at the latest – and stored over the winter. Come spring, they will be set up again in their chosen locations.

This is a great project, bringing together the recycling of wooden pallets, community involvement and use of outdoor space for art. Artists and sponsors are encouraged to come forward and get more pallet art out there.

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