Delburne regroups for project plan

  • Jul. 9, 2014 3:36 p.m.

Delburne residents are regrouping about establishing a community project after a new artistic feature was totally damaged recently.

Last month, Delburne School had more than 300 4.5 ft. by 3 ft. portraits of local residents pasted on the side of the facility thanks to international photographer John Beebe. Toronto street artist Dan Bergeron had overseen the project installation.

But the work was hit with heavy rain, and just couldn’t withstand the damage and extensive moisture. It had been expected to last between six months and two years, organizers say.

It’s of course disappointing, but the community is being provided with another chance to submit ideas and proposals for projects aimed at bringing the community together. And this time, perhaps it can be even bigger and more permanent in nature, said Nora Smith of Delburne Family & Community Support Services (FCSS).

“It’s about community engagement – that’s what the whole initiative is about. Getting everyone to the table, sharing their voices and sharing their gifts and talents.”

As for the photo project, over the last several months, a wide range of stories, insights and ideas of hope for the future were gathered through facilitated conversations and photo sessions with Beebe.

More than 400 people – almost half of Delburne’s population – took part with the oldest participant being 94 and the youngest five months.

This was the first step to gain insights into what creates a sense of ‘belonging’ and have community members identify vital projects and collaboratively action plan for results.

With the original project not working out, Smith said there was disappointment across the community of course but that has helped spur interest in exploring other projects that would be of a more lasting nature.

She said similar photo projects like this – adhered to the outside of facilities – have worked at other places in Canada.

“He’s never had that much rain on an installation shortly thereafter either. But it will be going forward in some form. It’s just a matter of hearing what the community would want that to be.”

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“This is also part of a much bigger project – the other initiatives that the community has said are vital to move forward on with shared action are health and wellness, main street revitalization and a communications strategy,” said Smith. “So starting this fall, we are having more action-planning gatherings and moving ahead on all the initiatives.”