A three-dimensional maple with its own treehouse, surrounded by branches, butterflies and a little black bear, now fills the lobby of Macaulay Tree House Day Nursery, created as a way to thank the donors who helped them expand their facilities.
Macaulay Tree House is a daycare in Bracebridge that also offers before- and after-school programs and summer camp. They commissioned Bracebridge artist Kimberly Rideout to create the art piece in recognition of locals who donated towards the creation of their West Campus, a daycare centre and community room that opened at the end of 2020. Rideout worked on the piece for just four days before it was revealed to the staff and other guests this afternoon.
“I ended up doing the entire room, all four walls, and made the whole thing three dimensional,” Rideout said. “I brought actual live branches and chunks of trees from our property. I brought rocks from our property and attached leaves to [the mural]. I built an actual little tree house.”
The art piece is a 360-degree experience with something to look at on every wall, she said. The metal leaves made in recognition of Macaulay Tree House’s supporters will be incorporated into the piece going forward.
Some of the leaves are green while others are gold and bronze tones, so Rideout included those colours and painted the mural in such a way that the leaves will look like they’re falling from the tree. With so many elements at play, it made it that much more special for Rideout to see the piece come together.
“It was a little chaotic because I had paint and I had all my tools. I had jigsaws going and drills and nail guns and glue guns. You name it, I had it in there,” Rideout said. “It was really nice to see it at the end of the project, clean everything up and be able to just sort of just absorb the actual mural and get the mess out of the way.”
The Home Depot in Bracebridge donated paint and shingles for the project, so she’s grateful to them for their help and grateful that she got to see joy on the faces of children after the reveal.
“They were all awestruck, standing there kind of spinning around and looking at different things,” she said.
Michelle Holmes, administrative assistant for Macaulay Tree House, said it’s amazing to see such a stunning work of art in their lobby, especially considering the natural elements included and the details like the treehouse. The team at Macaulay wanted to hire someone local to do the piece and they’re happy that they went with Rideout.
“She just really had a vision and just wanted to run with it and really incorporated such fun features to it,” Holmes said.
Holmes is fairly new to the Macaulay Tree House team, but since her own daughters went to daycare at the facility, it holds a special place in her heart. She and the rest of the staff are grateful to Rideout for the piece as well as to their donors for helping make their West Campus a reality.
“So much thanks to everyone for bringing this together,” Holmes said. “We’re thrilled.”