A unique community project was presented recently to the Kingsville Town Council. It all started with an idea of Kingsville artist Brianne Taggart’s to have a colourful crosswalk to help add some colour to the downtown streets. Former Mayor Nelson Santos proposed that the crosswalk be created to honour the Caldwell First Nation (CFN).
Working with the former mayor and CFN members Carrie Ann Peter and Alex Kajtar, Graphic Designer Kristine Verbeek from K Design Studio in Kingsville created multiple “Walkways of Sacred Teachings.” They presented the designs to the Town Council on July 11, 2022.
Two murals were designed, including a “Crosswalk of Inclusivity, Strength and Hope” and a “Circle of Sacred Teachings” sidewalk area.
The crosswalk, located on Pearl Street along the West side of Division, will walk you South toward the Carnegie Arts & Visitor Centre. It displays a beautiful, rainbow flow of fish. It starts out as singular fish, representing lost and displaced souls, which gather and merge together, returning home with inclusivity, strength, hope, love and purpose.
Kristine’s concept with the fish was selected, since the gathering of the fish gave beautiful symbolism and connection for the Caldwell First Nation. CFN are known as “People of the Lake” and important protectors of our Lake Erie resources.
It also captures their mission of “Coming Home” and moving back to their land, as fish gather to the same spawning place each year. The rainbow colouring is symbolic of community diversity.
The “Circle of Sacred Teachings” sidewalk mural was designed to be around the water wheel fountain in front of Carnegie Arts & Visitor Centre. This sidewalk circle displays seven sacred Caldwell First Nation teachings which have been handed down through generations. Each animal is connected to a lesson.
The three benches around the circle create an area of meeting, reflection, sharing and learning. Both languages are included to help teach Anishinaabemowin and honour their culture.
These one-colour simple animal illustrations created by Kristine were inspired by detailed artwork from CFN member Naomi Peters. The colours selected are a reflection of the surrounding gardens and nature.
They hope these murals will create something beautiful, sacred and educational for all.
The Town Council and Caldwell First Nation have now given the designs a thumbs-up approval. Still to be determined for Council is the cost, and method of application. It is hoped that the artwork will be fully installed by fall 2023.
All artwork © 2022 Kristine Verbeek/K Design Studio