Artist Scott McKay speaks to a group of art lovers as they check out his sculpture Mother Earth which is at the corner of York and Highland Street in Haliburton. /JENN WATT Staff

Artwork makes statement in Haliburton’s downtown

By Jenn Watt

Published June 26 2018

Six sculptures have been installed along Haliburton’s Highland Street bringing a new artistic flare to the downtown and imparting a message about the spirit of the community.

The pieces will be on display until October as part of the downtown sculpture project co-ordinated by the Haliburton BIA and Haliburton Sculpture Forest and supported by Haliburton County Development Corporation and several local businesses.
“One of the goals of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest was to provide an opportunity for people to be in the presence of art. We wanted to create an outdoor informal gallery to be enjoyed by art enthusiasts as well as people who might not choose to engage in more formal settings” Shelley Schell sculpture forest vice-chair said at the launch event on June 21.
“The downtown sculpture project makes a statement about the kind of place Haliburton and the Haliburton Highlands are. The presence of art in public spaces does more than transform and enhance those spaces; it expresses community values.” (You can read Shelley Schell’s full speech on page 6 of County Life.)

A jury with representatives from the BIA Haliburton Sculpture Forest and Dysart et al’s cultural resources committee selected the work.
The project mirrors a similar initiative in Elora Ont. and some of the artists whose work is displayed in Haliburton have had their work included in the Elora project as well.
BIA president Luke Schell told the group attending the launch on Thursday that there has been strong support for the project.
“The community has been behind this right from the beginning. The BIA committee: … right from the start [was] absolutely positive about every aspect of this” he said.
Jim Blake led the group on a walking tour to all six sculptures with several of the artists joining in explaining the method and message behind each piece.
For those exploring the works on their own there is signage placed beside the artwork.
A website and pamphlet are being created.