Pollinator Playground

Marveling at plants and small creatures is a childhood fascination that continues to inspire my artwork today. My mural Pollinator Playground is meant to convey this sense of joy and wonder: giant plants dominate the horizon in a storybook landscape and the air is filled with enlarged pollinating species; life-sized people cohabitate this fantasy garden, inviting visitors to see their place amongst the plants and pollinators. If they so choose, guests can pose with a pollinator or giant mural plant, mimicking the poses or just standing alongside the silhouettes. Not all pollinating species can be included and neither can all the diversity of human identities. Still, an effort has been made to represent variety in plant, animal, and human experience: different cultures, ages, and ability have been considered. In this way, the hope is that a wide range of people will see themselves reflected against different types of pollinators and plants. I believe this speaks to an important message: pollinating species are valuable yet threatened. By working together, however, humans can choose to play an active role in helping pollinating species thrive; they can move from appreciation towards action to support these vulnerable species.

Joanne Feely DeGraaf mural at lakeview village

"My artwork is based around connecting to nature [and pollinators]. It’s meant to be a bit of a fun and engaging way for people to see how these little tiny parts of our natural environment can make such a big impact, and also to build appreciation of them."

- Joanne Feely DeGraaf

The Artist

Joanne Feely DeGraaf

Joanne Feely DeGraaf

  • Driven by a desire to create and communicate visually, art has always been at the center of Joanne Feely DeGraaf’s life. After earning an Honours Bachelor of Fine Art at York University she completed a Bachelor of Education, and Honours Specialist certification in Visual Arts. She has taught visual art to high school students for a quarter of a century and worked as a Gallery Educator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in her early career. Her efforts have been recognized by various institutions. This is reflected in awards she has received such as the Peel District School Board’s Award of Excellence (2014) and Distinction (2012, 2016, 2019). Her artwork has been exhibited by various galleries and cultural centers including the Mississauga Living Arts Centre, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Etobicoke Civic Centre and Halton Regional Center. Connecting her students to authentic art creation opportunities has allowed her to lead and co-lead art projects that feature aspects of the City of Mississauga’s identity and beautifies its public spaces. These have provided opportunities for her to work alongside various community groups such as the City of Mississauga Ward One office, Parks and Forestry and Heritage Mississauga. These artistic projects have added context and beauty to Mississauga’s Port Credit and Lakeview neighbourhoods. While her choices of media are versatile, she predominantly works in two dimensional acrylic paint, mixed media and photography. If the concept or function of the artwork needs to be communicated in three dimensions however, it is not unusual for her artwork to take on a more sculptural form. This versatility allows her to choose the best tools and media to match the function and concept of the art she creates. Watch for her art or art she created collaboratively with her students or other artists in the Mississauga community.
  • https://joannedegraaf.com/