The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (the RMG) is planning big changes to expand public access and use of the large greenspace behind the gallery, transforming it into a community arts greenspace by spring 2023. So far this year the RMG has hosted three RMG Friday events outdoors, with over 500 attendees at a performance by local bands Dizzy and Wooly in May. The space is also regularly used by RMG summer camps.
Lauren Gould, CEO at the RMG, shares “Our goal is to create a significant outdoor space through creative placemaking and placekeeping that will lead to greater community well-being for all. This greenspace will encourage people to come downtown and experience a recreational and cultural hub. We’re delighted to announce that we’ll be working with LeuWebb Projects and Brook McIlroy to bring this project to life.”
The project will include:
- Improving the greenspace through accessible, artist-designed gathering and play spaces
- Addition of a permanent shade structure and seating
- Creation of an Indigenous medicine and butterfly garden in collaboration with our partners
- Adapting and creatively using the slope to improve access throughout the space
- Creating a welcoming gathering space on our front steps
- Commissioning and restoration of public artwork(s)
Additionally, to align with the RMG’s goals of improving greenspace and providing a safe and secure area to support expanded programs and services, the City of Oshawa funded and installed a perimeter fence in the outdoor space in fall 2021.
“The City of Oshawa is eagerly looking forward to seeing the completion of the RMG’s arts greenspace. This community outdoor space will be a feature in the heart of our city that will be enjoyed by community members and will attract new visitors to the downtown,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter.
Community consultation is vital to the project team. The RMG recruited an advisory circle of community members to provide feedback at key milestones, and PROCESS consultants have actively gathered feedback at RMG events.
LeuWebb Projects shared “We’re excited to be a part of this creative initiative for a new type of greenspace and are looking forward to collaboratively building on the great work taking place at RMG to open up even more access to arts and culture for communities in Oshawa and the Durham region.”
The RMG is an asset for Oshawa and Durham residents and this project will develop a creative, community space for all to use and enjoy. Follow the RMG on social media and subscribe to their e-newsletter to keep up to date on the design as it develops and learn how to get involved.
About the Project Team
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) is the largest public art gallery in Durham Region. We believe that art cultivates connected and caring communities. As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations, and creates a sense of belonging. We build relationships with diverse artists and communities through art. The RMG works in collaboration with artists, partners, and audiences to present dynamic and inspiring collections, exhibitions, and programs in an inclusive and equitable environment.
Today, the RMG’s collection of over 4,700 works focuses on telling the continuing story of Canadian abstraction. Each year we present Permanent Collection exhibitions alongside special exhibitions of contemporary art and artists. We prioritize engaging diverse audiences in new and familiar ways through our programming. We foster community connections and partnerships to create a greater sense of belonging. We reimagine the gallery, making space for all. Annually, we welcome 38,000 visitors and 10,000 participants to engage in our: exhibitions, education programs, volunteering opportunities, event spaces, shop, artist-in-residence program, and digital programming. Admission to the RMG is FREE and we typically offer over 100 free public programs each year.
LeuWebb Projects is the creative union between artists Christine Leu and Alan Webb, through which they apply their professional design backgrounds to produce moments of beauty in the public realm. Since 2011, they have created more than 20 site-specific artworks across the world. With each piece, Leu and Webb summon their shared artistic and architectural expertise in exploring how a site’s qualities can serve as metaphors for storytelling and critical discourse.
Art and architecture share an integral relationship, meeting at many points including visual, spatial and tactile expression. The unique approach of LeuWebb Projects lives within the space shared by art and architecture, their practice fueling hybrid forms and new directions within the contemporary visual arts tradition. Light, texture and sound are key components of their practice that they weave together through the innovative use of materials and responsive technologies to create art that is not only seen, but also experienced.
Brook McIlroy is an award-winning landscape architecture, planning, urban design, and architecture firm with offices in Toronto, Thunder Bay, and Winnipeg. As a unique, multi-disciplinary practice, we design projects as whole environments, addressing all scales and facets from community visions to detailed design and construction administration of parks, streets, buildings, and infrastructure. Over 21 years, we have worked extensively with municipalities, post-secondary institutions, and private developers in the design and creation of streetscapes, parks, public art, waterfronts, and design guidelines. Our progressive focus on the public realm and placemaking cerates lively, people-oriented spaces that combine landscape architecture with cultural interpretation and programming.
We work in the medium of the built and natural environments driven by a belief that we have been given an incredible gift in Canada, and an opportunity to get it right – to create environments where people can prosper and thrive while protecting the land, water, air and the other species that make life possible. This work is driven by a uniquely Canadian design ethos derived from research into place, diverse cultures, Indigenous world views, sustainability, natural materials, and the application of new technologies.
PROCESS is a strategy, engagement, communications, and planning studio. Through creative, collaborative, equitable and community-driven approaches, we transform how we plan, tell new stories and implement change.
People are at the centre of our work. Our curiosity drives us to solve complex problems and leads to responsive and meaningful outcomes.