FUTURE: Sault Ste. Marie

Downtown Mural Project

A partnership between FutureSSM and the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association, the Downtown Mural Project 2019 consists of 5 large-scale murals in the downtown core to support and coordinate with downtown revitalization initiatives.

The purpose of the mural project is three-fold:

1. Murals will increase Sault Ste. Marie's cultural vitality by introducing more art into the public sphere; public art initiatives allow for creative expression without cost barriers and promote a sense of identity and community. By connecting artists, businesses, government agencies and non-profit organizations in this collaborative, creative project, the development of murals themselves can advance the arts & culture sector in our community.

2. Murals create destinations resulting in increased foot traffic, while adding colour, vibrancy and character to an urban environment. A more vibrant downtown will attract more locals and tourists alike, who shop at local stores and eat at local restaurants, thereby supporting economic development in Sault Ste. Marie.

3. Finally, through the development of youth-oriented curriculum, the mural project will provide students in our community with opportunities for experiential learning and mentorship. FutureSSM is working with Batchewana First Nation, Algoma District School Board, Global Friends, Sault College, Algoma University, and others to involve youth in this process. The process will also provide the opportunity for local artists to connect with youth in a mentorship roll, connecting emerging and established arts practitioners.

Check out the artist profiles and event details below:



Jerry Rugg (aka birdO)

UNVEILING DATE: July 11 | 5-10pm

Jerry Rugg aka birdO is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. While his surreal geometric animals can be found on canvas, in digital print, and installation, birdO is primarily known for his large-scale mural work on walls and buildings around the world. Jerry’s long passion for the arts, his storied experience working in film, and the skills acquired as an award winning graphic designer, have all contributed to his approach, which focuses on an acute awareness of the surface and studious preparation with regard to local culture and surroundings.

Instagram @jerryrugg


Darren Emond

MURAL LOCATION: 350 Queen St. E (West Wall)
UNVEILING DATE: June 19 | 3-7pm

Darren Emond was born one Halloween morning in the frigid northern wastelands of a little mining town called Wawa in Northern Ontario, Canada. With a penchant for the creepy and the absurd, he broke his restraints and crashed around like a mad fiend calling many places home. He studied visual arts, English, marketing and philosophy at Cambrian college in Sudbury. He briefly worked as an arts instructor at the local gallery, teaching classes on anatomy, before the allure of hedonism flew him to Mexico where he busqued as a magician. Crash landing in Montreal, he worked as a commercial artist, arts instructor, magician and writer for several years before calling Sault Ste. Marie home. He lives with his cat Conan and spends his days in the studio where he is currently finishing work on his newest novel - The Fantabulous Tales of the Frivolous Fox. 

Instagram @darrenemond5





Alexander Bacon

MURAL LOCATION: 644 Queen St. E (West Wall)

Known for his works lining the alleyways and streets of Toronto, Alex 'Bacon' Lazich began painting in the 1990s as a teenager. His work has evolved to deconstructing traditional graffiti spray techniques to create an abstract graffiti style while maintaining letter form. 

Instagram @vizsla_bacon


Patrick Hunter

MURAL LOCATION: 298 Queen  St. E (North Wall)
UNVEILING DATE: June 26 | 3-7pm

Patrick Hunter is an Ojibway artist/graphic designer from Red Lake, Ontario. At 17, Patrick sold his first painting, not thinking that it could turn it into a career. Fast forward 13 years later, Patrick has been running his own design business since 2014, creating all kinds of paintings and designs that have also been put sold all over the world. 

Patrick is a new member to the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce family, which has led to partnerships with RBC, BMO, STAPLES Canada and Redwood Classics apparel. He is also the artist in residence to the Princes Trust Canada, which is a charity that operates to expand Indigenous language retention in Canada. His scarf collections have been purchased as gifts entities like Global Affairs Canada, and in 2016 was selected by web giant eBay Canada to do an apparel collection with proceeds from sales going to Indigenous charities. Whenever home in Red Lake, Patrick makes it a point to teach art classes to various schools in the area and maybe inspire the next generation of Woodland artists to answer the call of the art world. 

Instagram @patrickhunter_art

Rihkee Strapp

MURAL LOCATION: 345 Queen St. E (West Wall)
UNVEILING DATE: June 19 | 3-7pm

Rihkee Strapp is a two-spirited Métis of the Wolverine Clan and was born in the small Northwestern community of Red Lake, Ontario. They are a multi-disicplinary artist whose practive includes traditional woodland painting, installation, performance, and social practice. Growing up, Rihkee was inspired by their grandmother’s print collective by the Woodland artists of the Triple K Cooperative silk screen company, who came out of Red Lake. After living in a social sculpture in Sault Ste. Marie, by Matt Ceolin called the Arcadia Project, Rihkee became fascinated by social practice and the power of these communities of people.

Their arts practice centers around nuances of identity, and cultural appropriation. Using the Woodland tradition of mnemonic painting, vivid colours, and legend, they juxtapose the experience of contemporary life for the rural-born Métis raised on the internet, with a focus on collaborative projects and community transformation.

Instagram @rihkee


Mishiikenh Kwe 

MURAL LOCATION: 345 Queen St. E (West Wall)
UNVEILING DATE: June 19 | 3-7pm

Mishiikenh Kwe ndizhnikaaaz. Adik ndoodem. Namegnedawaan ndoonjibaa. 

My name is Autumn Smith/Mishiikenh Kwe (Turtle Woman.) I’m anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Odawa) from the caribou clan, my community is Magnetawan First Nation. I grew up listening to stories from my grandmother who is an anishinaabemowin (ojibwe language) teacher from Wiikwemkoong and draw most of my inspiration for paintings from those stories, thoughts and teachings I got from her and from ceremonies I attend.

I often paint my own visions and dreams that come from a deep spiritual connection with and love for the land, my ancestors, animal/plant beings and all my relations.

Instagram @mishiikenhkweart


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