Susan and StewartHub Staff

Three Saugeen Shores organizations, The Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores (BGOSS), Southampton Art Centre and Southampton Rotary, have joined forces to create a large Monarch butterfly mural.

“It's three non-profit groups in town which are doing a neat project for the community and all our visitors,” said Kerry Jarvis of BGOSS.

The Mural, painted on three specially covered aluminum 4' by 8' panels - which artists at the Art Centre have been working on throughout the winter - will be erected later this spring at Rotary Perkins Park, across from the Beer Store on Highway 21, Southampton.

Jarvis said the first two panels of the mural depict the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly with the third showcasing the Monarch's migration route. The panels and mural are part of the BGOSS' mandate. “It's part of the educational component, letting people know about monarchs and where they go and their life cycle as an insect,” said Jarvis.

The mural, the materials for which has been donated by the Southampton Rotary Club, is part of a three year enhancement project at Perkins Park with an initial butterfly pod being installed there last year.

“We're adding a bunch of new pods there this year as well,” said Jarvis, adding that a butterfly pod will be placed in front of the two panels depicting the life cycle with the third panel next to them on an angle. “It's right off the Rail Trail so it will be visible for people who are walking or riding their bikes.”

The intent is to have Perkins Park act as a stop over, “for people to stop and linger a bit, take a picture, take a look at the gardens and just enjoy that area a bit more,” said Jarvis.

Southampton Art Centre Director, April Patry said Southampton Rotary approached her with a vision they had had to create a butterfly cut out that would be a photo board for families to put their faces in and take pictures. “I was really happy to agree to that because it was a great way for us to reciprocate because [Southampton Rotary has] been really good support of our gallery and the school for many years,” she said.

Patry then came up with a small committee. Artist and illustrator Susan Enzensberger laid out the actual appearance of the mural. Woodworker Bob Hastings will cut some circles for faces into the mural and also cut a more live edge around the sides and along the top to make it look more natural. Metal worker Lisa Hambleton is going to give the mural a more three dimensional look by adding antennae and tentacles to the butterflies and caterpillars.

The painting is expected to be finished by the end of March with final installation by the middle of April. Patry said it's been a fun, collaborative project for all the artists at the Centre. “As artists have come in to work their shift they've been picking up a paintbrush.”

Artist Susan Enzensberger echoed the sentiment. “It's a communal thing from all the artists,” she said.

Enzensberger drew the original drawing on brown paper and then transferred the outline to the panels. “When April suggested [the project] to me, it kind of scared me because I had never done anything really big,” she said, calling it a revelation. “It changes your whole thought process,” said Enzensberger.

BGOSS have 13 butterfly pods throughout Saugeen Shores currently and hope to have about 18 by the end of this year, with three being added along the Saugeen Rail Trail. Perkins Park will be the biggest growth area.

Jarvis said BGOSS plans on adding numbered signage at each of the pods this year, in order to more easily identify them; as well as hire a summer university student to create a map of the pods. The map, once complete, is to be available in paper copy as well as on their website.

Next year will be the third year for the project and Jarvis said with more focus on education, BGOSS will be applying for grants and in 2017, hope to install signage explaining the project as well as the three organizations involved. “We want to promote all three community groups. It's a really clever project,” said Jarvis. “We're big believers in marrying art and culture with nature.”Susan EnzensbergerMap