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All aboard the hippie van: Sponsors sought for Streets Alive sculptures

Hippie van theme is Streets Alive's homage to Mariposa Folk Festival and its 60th-anniversary celebration

Streets Alive is looking for sponsors to hop aboard the hippie van.

Hippie vans are the theme of this year’s annual public art installation in downtown Orillia, and organizers are inviting people to sponsor the sculptures, either as individuals or as a group. Pieces that are sponsored by a group of people will remain under the ownership of Streets Alive, allowing it to use them for future projects.

“We also like to have individual sponsors because that means the pieces have an owner,” said Streets Alive founder Leslie Fournier. “They get to own an incredible, original sculpture that connects to the community and, in this particular case, a celebration that’s important.”

That celebration is the 60th-anniversary Mariposa Folk Festival happening in July — the inspiration for this year’s theme.

“Going back 60 years, it was sort of the hippie van era,” Fournier said. “It connects with the 60th anniversary, but it’s also something that’s just so fun on the streets.”

A selection of the sculptures will be on display at the festival in Tudhope Park.

As with most of the Streets Alive projects over the past decade, participating artists will be given a sculpture to use as a canvas. The hippie van sculptures are metal side panels of Volkswagen-style vans. They’re about six-and-a-half feet wide by five feet high.

About half of the 30 sculptures already have sponsors, and Fournier has seen the artists’ designs.

“The designs always surpass expectations. There are so many details within the designs, and creativity,” she said, adding some will incorporate fabric, woodwork, beads and other features.

She praised Ron Schell for his work in creating the metal canvases.

“He always adds a little more once he gets into it. He adds his touch and his magic to the pieces,” she said. “They’re looking great.”

This will be the last project with this many sculptures, but Fournier noted there could be smaller, individual Streets Alive projects in the future.

Sponsorship of a hippie van costs $2,000. Sponsors will be recognized on the sculpture plaque and in the souvenir guidebook.

The sculptures will be on display downtown from June 13 until Thanksgiving weekend. A kickoff event will take place June 13 in the Peter Street Arts District. That's when members of the public will be able to start voting for their favourites.

For more information or to sponsor a sculpture, email Fournier at [email protected].

More details are also available on the Streets Alive Facebook page.


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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the desk editor for Village Media's central Ontario news desk in Simcoe County and Newmarket.
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