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Inspiring Artists: Pandemic made it tough, but artist Monique Legault unveils new mural in Capreol

Legault said she had to wait out pandemic closures before painting mural dedicated to Capreol’s railroad heritage

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant hard times for local artists, with summer festivals and performances cancelled.

Even with Greater Sudbury entering Stage 3 reopening, and the province giving the green light for performance venues to reopen, it remains to be seen how the local arts scene will adapt — although artists have already been doing plenty of that during the pandemic.

Given the unusual situation, we decided to put the spotlight on local creators of all kinds this summer, whether they’re musicians, actors, filmmakers, authors or fine artists. Many have been putting out new work amid the pandemic.

A highlight of the summer for many in the Capreol area is Capreol Days, but sadly, the community festival has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19.

Two years ago, Capreol’s 100th birthday was celebrated during Capreol Days. Organizers have been using the proceeds from that event for community improvement projects.

That includes a mural on the side of a CN Rail-owned building at the intersection of Front and Young streets in Capreol recently completed by Greater Sudbury artist and muralist Monique Legault.

The mural is a tribute to the community’s railroad heritage.

It features the wording “Capreol, Est. 1918,” along with a painting of Capreol’s train station as it looked in the past and the 6077 train, which is on display at the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre.

“The mural is beautiful,” said Capreol Days organizer Lynn Mazzuca. “Monique is such a talented girl. I’m very happy with it.”

While the mural’s planning has been in the works for some time, she said it’s “fitting” that it went up this summer, as Capreol Days had to be cancelled.

“In a way, we’re still kind of celebrating Capreol Days,” she said. 

By the way, Mazzuca, the owner of a Capreol clothing store called Lynn’s Place, recently stepped down as the organizer of Capreol Days after 26 years — she’s hoping for some “new blood” on the committee that runs the festival.

Legault, who operates Monique Legault Studio on Elgin Street, just a few doors down from the Sudbury.com office, said she spent a total of 86 hours on the project, completing the mural this past Sunday. 

She said she was expecting the mural to take much less time, but the building’s corrugated metal wall surface caused her some issues, including the condensation that accumulates at night.

Legault said she actually does a lot of murals — they’re a big part of her business. If you frequent the downtown, you might be familiar with the mural she did in 2019 in the Elgin Street pedestrian underpass.

She said she has another 14 murals of varying scales to complete this summer.

Unfortunately, the pandemic put a damper on her work this spring, as she was unable to rent a boom to paint the Capreol mural or easily procure supplies such as paint. 

She also wasn’t able to enter some businesses such as restaurants that had contracted her to paint murals.

“It was very hard at the time, but people are making up for it now,” Legault said.

Legault said she’s had a great response from the people of Capreol.

“Oh God, everybody loves it,” Legault said. She said she had people who came and visited her every day as she was working on the mural, including one couple who came to cheer her up when the project became a bit frustrating.

During the pandemic, Legault has also done her part to help the local arts community by taking the lead in organizing an adapted version of the Downtown Sudbury Art Crawl.

This month, downtown businesses have featured the work of emerging and established artists in storefront windows. 

All of the art pieces have been put up for auction online. Legault said because not all of the pieces sold, some of them will be going up for auction again through the Downtown Sudbury Art Crawl website, so watch out for that.

“We all need the support right now for sure,” Legault said.

If you or someone you know has a project you think we should write about with our “Inspiring Artists” feature, email us at hulrichsen@sudbury.com. Be sure to include contact information.




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