Artists Give Big Brother's & Sisters Home A Fresh Look

By Kathryn Burnham, (Cornwall Standard Freeholder) 

It will no longer slip by unnoticed thanks to its new coat of paint. Artists from near and far have been working to transform the Big Brothers, Big Sisters home on Third Street. “It’s changed the face of who we are,” said executive director Amanda Brisson.

Moose and Taco watch over the backyard of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters headquarters. This is a meeting place, office, and place where each pair gets their start. 

“No, now they see it,” artist Tracy-Lynn Chisholm contradicted.

The building serves as the head office, meeting place and starting point for pairs in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.

The painting, which began Wednesday evening and was finishing up over the weekend, came from an idea of Chisholm’s, and it was her 4-foot by 10-foot design that eventually made its way onto the green building’s walls.

“It’s for the kids, and the big kids, too,” she said. She was joined in painting it by the Walldogs, a group of experts in mural painting called upon for their assistance by local talent Noella Cotnam. The group of friends meet up once a year to paint a mural, she said, although typically it’s something historic on the side of a building for a town anywhere in North America.

“It’s the first time I’ve painted a house the whole way around,” she said. The community has been supportive of the project, Cotnam said, and many neighbours and members of the group were on hand to check out the project as it progressed. The building’s bright colours and shapes are certainly child-like, but the symbolism runs deeper.

A clock on the Augustus Street wall represents time: “It takes time to change the life of a child,” said Brisson.

And everything big is little on the mural, from flowers to two dogs guarding the rear door: Moose and Taco. And two hands, one big one little, pass a gift: the gift of friendship, Brisson said.

“Everything has meaning to us and will have meaning to our volunteers,” said Brisson. But it is also a bit of a beacon searching for new members with its brightness and energy. “We weren’t really recognizable,” said Brisson of the old green house on the corner of Augustus and Third streets. She said she hopes those passing by will say “look how fun we can be.” Then she hopes people will say “I want to do that.