Two new “Art Spots” in Newton are designed to lead pedestrians and motorists to cultural facilities in the area.
The project includes circular decals in the middle of two intersections, on King George Boulevard at 72nd and 88th avenues, and also painted sidewalks at those corners.
The “Art Spot” at 72nd Avenue points the way to the nearby Newton Cultural Centre, while the one at 88th highlights Surrey Arts Centre.
It’s all a “legacy project” spearheaded by the Arts Council of Surrey, in partnership with the City of Surrey and donors.
The arts council celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
It’s the first road-decal project of its kind in North America, said James Crosty, a director of the arts council.
“We believe the City of Surrey is the only city to use the middle of an intersection to purposely promote the arts and culture facilities,” he said during a launch event Wednesday (May 9).
“We started working on this in July of last year trying to get it into our anniversary year, but an anniversary lasts longer than a year,” Crosty told the Now-Leader.
“It was a really long process but that’s the beauty of a legacy. It takes a long time to get it going and it lasts a long time when it’s done.”
Sidewalks at the intersections were painted green, coral, yellow and other colours in early March, and the “Art Spot” decals were placed more recently, during late-evening hours in required warmer weather. Explanatory signs at each intersection were unveiled at Wednesday’s launch event.
“Part of the reason the sidewalks are painted is to wake (people) up to the fact that they’re really close to something,” Crosty explained. “So many people will walk past a cultural centre and not have a clue what it is. And now we can point out, I’ll meet you at the 72nd Art Spot at KGB, instead of, oh, the intersection of 72nd and King George Boulevard. So now we have a name, a place and people can actually meet here.”
The “Art Spot” decals were installed by Sutton Road Marking.
The special plastic was put down in sheets and then melted onto the road so it becomes part of the asphalt, explained Matthew Sutton-Atkins, the company’s operations manager.
“The longevity of the (decal) depends on things such as a pothole forming, if a hole opens up underneath, but they should last for a number of years,” he said.
The rolled-on sidewalk paint, or MMA (methyl methacrylate) — the type found at “Pride” crosswalks around the region — should last “a long time, years, probably the length of the concrete itself,” Sutton-Atkins said.
The “Art Spots” are located on Surrey’s so-called “Cultural Corridor,” along King George Boulevard.
“People say they (the decals in the intersections) should be a lot bigger but they’re actually designed to last a long time, so that cars don’t actually roll over them,” Crosty explained. “That’s a dead area in the middle of every intersection, and the City of Surrey operations figured that out, and that’s how the spot became a reality. Otherwise it would have to be painted way too often. And the idea is that the news traffic helicopters will pick up on that in years to come.”
The arts council hopes more “Art Spots” will be created at other intersections in Surrey, in years to come.
“This is just a start,” Crosty said.
“For people out walking, they see the sidewalk changes colour and they know something special is in the area. We want that distraction, a good positive one for the people of Surrey and those visiting the city.”
As for the project cost, Crosty was mum on the subject.
“What got complicated is the roads and sidewalks needed to be repaired as well, so do we factor that in as well?” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s a really small contribution to the arts community. We’re doing something that’s not been done before.”