Latest Hamilton mural celebrates developmental disabilities, the community

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The new mural on the wall of Pinball Garage in downtown Hamilton was created by community artists and artists at InsideOut Studio.

InsideOut Studio program manager Steven Smith said they were approached by officials with Operation Pumpkin to create a community-based art project. Smith and the artists at the studio invited the community to partake in painting the mural.

With the idea that this would be adorned on the blank brick wall at Pinball Garage on North Third Street, the design used basic concepts of a pinball machine. It’s an abstract mural made of large wooden boards and pieces of glass that gives a nod to the game’s shapes, lights and flashiness.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

“It’s something that pops off the wall, something that grabs your attention,” said Smith. “We’ve got a lot of awesome murals around the city. I wanted to create something that’s a little different, something with a dynamic shape. Almost a little bit of a sculptural element to it. I really think it captures the essence of a pinball machine.”

InsideOut Studio is a vocational habilitation program that employs individuals with disabilities, providing artists with disabilities an opportunity to produce, market, and receive an income from their art. The studio is a program under Inspiration Studio, a non-profit that inspires individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities to lead purposeful, healthy, and self-directed lives through innovative programming and services.

Hamilton is known as the City of Sculpture, but it’s quickly becoming known for its murals. Though this InsideOut Studio project is unrelated to the StreetSpark mural project, it does take inspiration from it.

The installation was on Monday, the same day as Inspiration Studio’s celebration of March being Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month at Pinball Garage. Brad Baker, the establishment’s owner, has hosted this event for the past few years.

Baker is happy with the mural, saying, “It’s so awesome.”

“I think it represents Pinball Garage to the T,” he said. “I just think they knocked it out of the park on the design.”

Baker, who was the 2021 Hamilton Citizen of the Year, said he’s become friends with the leaders of Inspiration Studio and the artists and instructions at the InsideOut Studio program.

“We’ve got to know them over the past four years,” said Baker, who opened Pinball Garage, a bar in downtown Hamilton that features pinball machines and video games. “They’re just a great part of our community and the artists are just so much fun.”

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