Clement Goh, Senior Reporter
Elevators raced up-and-down carrying guests, while some took the stairs to prepare their legs for what they expected to be long periods of standing while viewing art at Lakeshore campus’ Welcome Centre.
The Jan. 18 event celebrated two things: the second anniversary of the Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre and the unveiling of two interconnected art exhibits.
In Your Eyes and In Your Hands share new and familiar perspectives of Lakeshore across nearly half a century.
Guests shuffled down the narrow hallway, past a few curious admirers who challenged incoming traffic as they listened to an artist’s experiences.
Meanwhile, two floors below, the Interpretive Centre was quieter. A few visitors spoke softly as they appreciated the gallery of an older Lakeshore. Some stayed to paint their own work, running a brush across a blank sheet of paper — an activity letting anyone become their own Picasso.
Guests saw a variety of works appreciating the area’s ecosystem. Others were able to feel and touch hand-crafted murals that took months, even years, to stitch together.
“It’s really good to get those curious people,” said Nancy Barrett, an avid bird-watcher and Vice President of Friends of Sam Smith Park.
Her visual piece, Bird Nerd: Life as a Birder, is looking to break down perceptions of ornithology to a wider audience.
“You tell them to point out one bird and they’re just blown away. So what I’m trying to do is reach out to people who really don’t know anything about the weird things that birders do,” she said.
Barrett said birders shared a strange reputation for their passion.
“They used to wear Tilley hats and the vests or they wear full camouflage,” she said. “I wanted to show that we aren’t really just like everybody else.”
Some artists used different mediums to express their love for Lakeshore’s trails. In Moments, Toronto photographer Taku Kumabe used his camera to capture sunrises.
“It’s basically an accumulation of my collection of pictures during various weather conditions and special moments I had with the park itself,” Kumabe said.
Unlike sunsets, Kumabe prefers the opposite for its energizing concept and capturing it as a means to share the joy.
“Just seeing that first light rise above the horizon, especially at a gorgeous place like Colonel Sam Smith Park, there’s no better way to start the day,” he said.
Speaking to other artists, Kumabe found out he wasn’t the only admirer of the area, except that for his photography, he’s often leaving the park before others such as Barrett arrive.
“During early hours between twilight and sunrise hours, I leave and then the birders actually come after that,” he laughed.
Artist Susannah Smith brought her own personal experience with Outdoors and In-Patients; a gallery of 10
She spent time creating each one across Toronto, as a painter and a former mental health patient.
“It’s been an amazing experience. I put both my time in the hospital as well as just the times I spent through the Lakeshore,” Smith said.
As her first exhibit at the Interpretive Centre, she was nervous about sharing private moments with others.
“When I was choosing my spots, in the hospital I had basically a small room with no windows,” she said. “So, there wasn’t much opportunity to choose other places but when you do it and it comes
In Your Eyes and In Your Hands are at the Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre and the third floor of the Welcome Centre until the end of March.