Open Doors, Open Arms

Dartmouth North Community Mural! 

The proposed mural for the wall along Robert Burns Drive will feature eight floating doors based on actual different venues in the community like the Boys and Girls Club. Bursting out of the doors will be friendly people, smiling faces, and swirling arms carrying and holding various elements that were named in the sessions. Some will be shooting hoops, some will be carrying coffee cups, some making peace signs, holding hearts, drawing, shaking hands and so on. Out the doors will also be a path looping in and out of the doors, connecting them all and creating the idea of a journey. On the path, we’ll see smaller versions of people, riding bikes, skateboarding, watching the view. The backdrop to the entire scene will be a warm, vaguely “purple sunset” (as it was often described in the sessions) with the sun dipping over the water. 

The overall style of the mural will be bright, colourful, and 70’s inspired. Imagine a Jackson 5 lunch box or the movie Yellow Submarine. 

All of this is in keeping with the feedback received from the community. People mentioned everything from Pennywise the demon clown to Tim Hortons to salamanders but the most common elements were: sunsets, the water, peace, love, sports & games, local venues like the BGC or the local Timmies, and most importantly: community. Every time we asked adults from area what made Dartmouth North special or different compared to other parts of the city, they always said it was the fact that they could knock on anyone’s door in the neighbourhood and feel welcome inside. This is a close-knit community that cares for each other and wants to lift each other up. We want that to be the heart of the concept. 

To make it easy for the community to paint, I want to keep the design fairly simple and allow opportunities for folks to add to the mural in simple ways, like by painting in elements like birds using a stencil. I thought it could be cool to have books and birds flying out of a couple of the doors and people could paint a bird or a book and point to the mural saying, “That one is mine!” I also thought we could encourage people to write quotes or lines on the path in the mural, just so it’s personalized.