Preston Street BIA and SPAO team up for unique outdoor arts exhibition

preston street bia spao art walk
The outdoor public art initiative features large-scale photographic artworks created to enhance Ottawa’s Little Italy and engage with residents and tourists. (Supplied)

The Preston Street BIA and SPAO Photographic Arts Centre will debut a “photo walk” at a launch event Nov. 24.

The photo walk is an outdoor public art initiative featuring large-scale photographic artworks created to enhance Ottawa’s Little Italy and engage with residents and tourists. Designed as a “visual treasure hunt,” each artwork is accompanied by a QR code that gives participants access to the story behind the image, as well as to the photo walk map for a self-guided tour. 

According to SPAO, the “ongoing and evolving” art installation is a first in Canada.

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“The SPAO Photographic Arts Centre is thrilled to partner with the Preston Street BIA in order to share diverse photographic artworks from across Canada with the community we love and enhance the neighbourhood we call home,” says Jonathan Hobin, SPAO creative director, in a news release. 

The photo walk open call received more than 500 applications from across Canada and the chosen artworks were selected by an assessor jury made up of nationally recognized industry leaders, including the former chief curator at the National Gallery of Canada. The selected artworks can be found mounted on storefronts and exterior walls within Ottawa’s Little Italy. 

“The Little Italy SPAO photo walk was born out of a shared goal to elevate the level of public art on Preston Street, while giving a voice to diverse artists from across Canada,” says Lindsay Childerhose, executive director at the Preston Street BIA, in the release. “The walk offers an outdoor, self-guided art experience that takes you on a journey throughout Ottawa’s Little Italy.” 

SPAO Photographic Arts Centre houses a two-year photographic arts college, recreational part-time classes, and an international artist residency. 

The Preston Street BIA is the voice of the business community in Ottawa’s Little Italy, committed to improving and promoting the Preston Street commercial catchment area through investment, animation and advocacy. 

The launch event takes place Nov. 24, 5 to 9 p.m., at SPAO, 77 Pamilla St. The event is free and open to the public.

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