In May 2006, a man carrying bags of groceries on the “green stairs” on Ste. Anne Road, across from the Rainbow Centre Mall, was robbed and badly beaten by a group of youths.
It was a tipping point for nearby resident Joscelyne Landry-Altmann — now the city councillor for Ward 12 — who pledged to do something to stop this kind of thing from happening again.
While security cameras were installed on the green stairs, and foliage was cut back for better visibility, Landry-Altmann also worked with the arts community on a more creative solution.
They decided that placing public art around the green stairs would increase pedestrian traffic in the area, and therefore safety.
Five years ago, local artist Will Morin installed a goddess statue at the top of the stairs.
He also created five frames where art by students from nearby Sudbury Secondary School, Marymount College and Collège Notre-Dame could be displayed. Different student art is installed in the frames each year.
Landry-Altmann said the art project has made a big difference, although there have been reports of people congregating at the bottom of the stairs lately, and children being chased.
She said she's looking into possibly installing an “artistic” fence near the bottom of the stairs, which she thinks will prevent this issue.
Grade 11 Notre-Dame student Marc Ranger is one of the students whose art is displayed on the green stairs this year.
The circular painting has a dark sky and bright lake filled with aquatic creatures.
“There's also somebody looking into the skies,” he said, speaking to Northern Life at a June 6 press conference.
“It's kind of the point to prove you don't always see what is beautiful, so you have to look around for it. That's why all the beauty and the colour is underwater.”
Ranger said he thinks the project is fantastic.
“It brings more safety and just a nicer feel to the area, and it makes people want to walk through it,” he said. “Maybe we should have more areas in Sudbury to just bring more people out and bring more awareness to the art students and programs.”