By Bruce Weir
In most gallery situations, viewers are forbidden to touch the art. In the case of the Walk of Fame “Grate Portrait” initiative, however, you are free to step, jump or even dance on the paintings.
That’s because the Walk of Fame is an initiative between the Calgary Downtown Association and Mandy Stobo. Stobo has been commissioned to paint her Bad Portraits on the grates that protect the trees on Stephen Avenue.
The Walk of Fame will be officially launched on Thursday, Sept. 20. The event will take place where all great moments in Canadian history have occurred—in front of the Bay. On her Facebook page, the artist offers both a sneak peek of the portraits and a word of caution, calling the Walk of Fame a series of ” great Calgarians that you probably won’t recognize due to the bad portraits of them.” We can give you a hint, however. Look for renderings of Alison Redford, Naheed Nenshi, Stephen Harper and Chief Crowfoot.
To find out more about Stobo and her Bad Portraits, check out the Our Town we ran in the magazine in August. To study the portraits, head downtown any time. And remember, you’re free to walk on the grates, but please tread lightly around the trees themselves. The grates were initially installed to protect the greenery, which, just like the famous Calgarians Stobo has painted, have long roots in the community.