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‘Silent Expectation’ installed in Wellington

A new and improved back garden at Wellington Heritage Museum is taking shape, and the project recently moved one step closer to completion with the recent installation of a public art piece.

“We are thrilled to see the sculpture in place,” said Jessica Chase, assistant curator with the County Museums. “The garden project has brought a breath of fresh air to this site, and we are excited for the community to see and enjoy the final transformation.”

The Friends of the Wellington Heritage Museum initiated the sculpture project in the fall of 2017. Artists from across Ontario and Quebec submitted proposals. After much deliberation, the group selected Philippe Pallafray’s work entitled Silent Expectation.

His proposal incorporated the museum’s former use as a meeting house for the Society of Friends, also known as Quakers.

Chase said the museum’s volunteers were drawn to the artist’s attention to Quaker values, and thoughtful ties he made to these values in his proposal.

Pallafray’s proposal states that “the sculpture recalls the simplicity and moderation” sought by the Quakers, and that Silent Expectation is an invitation for contemplation. The sculpture’s solid, black exterior features jagged cracks that glint silver in the sunlight, hinting at the Quaker belief that an inward light is present in all people.”

The artist sums up his unique design with a quote from Leonard Cohen: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

“I love the contrast between the modernist appearance of Silent Expectation and the traditional architecture of the museum,” said Cheryl Douglas, member of the Friends of the Wellington Heritage Museum.

The last step of the garden project will involve landscape architect Ben O’Brien, of Wild by Design, installing plantings with heritage value and colour palette. The finished garden is to be officially unveiled later this season.

To support the final phase of the garden project, the Friends will host Sitting Pretty: A Chair-ity Auction at the Wellington Town Hall on June 2. Thirty vintage chairs transformed by local artists will be auctioned off to help cover the costs of plantings and finishing touches for the space.

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