Carp Memorial Hall gets a mural

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

CARP – One of Carp’s oldest buildings enjoyed a spruce-up this summer including new paint, new trim, and now a new mural honouring some of the village’s historic buildings.

The Carp Memorial Hall itself is one of Carp’s historic buildings, enjoying its location in downtown Carp on the four corners since it was erected in 1921, and it was long time for a rejuvenation.

The Village of Carp Business Improvement Area (BIA) knew this, and made sprucing up the 102-year-old building a priority at its Feb. 4 annual general meeting.

On Friday, Oct. 27, BIA chair Jennifer Stewart and board member Neil Falls, who led the project, sat down with West Carleton Online to talk about the project.

“The mural got up yesterday (Oct. 26),” Stewart said. “It’s looking good.”

The project started with a search for funding.

Carp village BIA logo.

“We applied for funding last year for two things,” Stewart said. “A clean and paint. It was in dire need. And the commissioning of a mural.”

The BIA was successful in receiving a grant in the amount of $11,750 from the city’s Mural and Architectural Design Feature Funding Program. The BIA had to match the funds to receive the grant.

“We wanted to make sure we had a train and agricultural feel,” falls said said of the mural the BIA was envisioning. “The commerce centres that made Carp a hub. We wanted to showcase some of the businesses that were sustained in Carp over the years. That was the path and driving force behind the selection for the mural because we are a BIA. It wasn’t an easy selection process.”

The BIA commissioned Dunrobin native Kayla Bryant, who now lives in Almonte, to sketch the mural which features historic Carp buildings such as the Carp Memorial Hall, Carp Public School, Carp Gas Station, The Carp Review Newspaper Office, Carp Flour Mill Ltd. And the Carp Train Station on Salisbury Street.

“We’re really proud of the mural and we hope the community is too,” Stewart said.

“The renderings are spot on,” Falls said of the mural. “A huge thank you to the vision of the artist. It turned out really well. It brings that intersection together.”

SignFX on Carp Road installed the mural on the Memorial Hall and donated that work to the project.

“SignFX pulled miracles to make this happen,” Stewart said.

And the work fits right in to the BIA’s mandate.

“One of the main objectives of the BIA is beautification,” Stewart said. “In the last few years, we’ve added two new Village of Carp entrance signs and lined Carp Road through the village with flags,” Stewart said. “For an all-volunteer board, we’re really pulling out weight and we’re really proud with what we’ve done over the last year.”

Mural artist Bryant sat down with West Carleton Online at Alice’s Village Café later that same day (Oct. 27) to talk about the project.

Bryant works as a graphic artist but is an “artist first.”

“As long as I’ve been a kid,” Bryant told West Carleton Online. “Mr. Dressup was my idol.”

Bryant grew up in Dunrobin on Constance Lake Road and is a West Carleton Secondary School graduate.

Making the mural included a fair bit of research for Bryant.

“They gave me a list of the buildings,” Bryant said. “I drew all the buildings by hand. Digitized them and then coloured them. I got a lot of the photos from the Huntley Township Historical Society.”

She also ran a social media campaign through Carp business Ottawa Valley Grain Products, seeking historical photos.

The photos provided some context, but they often weren’t in colour, and also not all of them were from the perspective they would be reproduced in the mural.

“So, I had to imagine a bit from that perspective,” Bryant said. “For example, the gas pumps at the old Carp Gas Station, had those old bulb lights. I had to research the logo, research the colour. Some of the photos obscured parts of the buildings.”

Bryant said it took about four weeks to finish the project, but being a working mom of two young children, that meant weekends and evenings and finding time when she could.

“I enjoyed it very much,” Bryant said. “It was very much my niche. I love to draw. I get hyper focused. I got to mix my mediums, sketching and digitization. Work with digital watercolours. It was fun.

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