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A small group of Cobourg citizens has been working to spruce up empty storefronts on King Street and their first success is now on display. The store at 41 King West, owned by landlord Mr. and Mrs. Fung Louie, now has artwork by Pine Ridge Art Association with window lighting provided by the Cobourg DBIA. See photos below. The project is managed by a small ad-hoc committee consisting of Warren McCarthy, Debra McCarthy, Adam Bureau (Pres. of DBIA) and Merrill Sooley (Pres. of Pine Ridge Art Association (the pilot)). It is supported by the Mayor, the Council, the Downtown Coalition, the DBIA and the AGN and the intent is to enlist the landlords of other empty Downtown stores.

The program is the initiative of Warren McCarthy and he describes it;

The objective is to transform the many dark, empty downtown store-window vacancies into beautiful dynamic art exhibits until they are rented/sold.

The exhibitors will be local art clubs, individual artists and hopefully the Art Gallery of Northumberland (AGN).

Art is the vehicle, but the objective is Vitalization - more people visiting downtown - more spending $ - more businesses open longer - more tourists - more new businesses - less vacancies.

With enough participating landlords, the vision is that in 2017 Cobourg becomes known as 'The Art Town' - 2018 'Ontario's Art Town' - 2019 'Canada's Art Town'.
(There is an answer to - "How does the theme continue when there are less & less vacancies if it is successful?")

The initiative started last spring, and through the summer succeeded in winning support from the DBIA, the AGN, the Downtown Coalition Advisory Committee and the Canada-150 Committee.

There are currently 20+ vacant window locations on King St.

So far, 5 windows have been OK'd for the program by landlords - 8 more are expected soon.

Some concerns of landlords have been addressed. All windows and displays will be cleaned and maintained by a team supporting the project; the only space requested is the front window space - screening barriers will be placed behind the displays to block any views of the building interior and exhibits will be changed frequently enough to generate interest.

As well as helping vitalize Downtown, this will provide a way for local artists to display their creations and will promote local artists - a big plus.

If you are on King Street, you will already see people stopping to look. With no cost to landlords or the taxpayer, there seems to be no downside.

41 King West - at night41 King West - at night41 King West41 King West - by day



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