Running this year from August 20 to 22, the Up Here Urban Art and Music Festival is honouring one of Sudbury’s favourite sons with a mural, gracing his former alma mater, Sudbury Secondary School, then known as Sudbury High School.
Former Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who grew up in Sudbury, died at the age of 80 in November 2020.
The three-story mural now in progress on the brick wall of the school was begun on August 11 with Canadian artist Kevin Ledo designing and painting.
In partnership with the Rainbow District School Board, the mural will take the artist a little over a week to finish. Ledo is best known for his murals of Leonard Cohen, located in Montreal, Rosa Parks in Detroit and David Suzuki in Toronto.
This is going to be a really special piece on a really special wall,” said Ledo in a release from Up Here. “And, how fitting is it to have it go up facing the Sudbury Public Library—a place of knowledge, curiosity, and everything Trebek stood for.”
“Trebek has always had a really special place in all our hearts,” stated Christian Pelletier, co-founder of the Up Here festival, in the release. “He’s kind of been the unofficial mascot of all our projects, going way back to the We Live Up Here books in 2013.”
The festival even sold pins with the iconic Sudburian’s face on them. “Heck, even when we had to change the name of the festival from Up Fest to Up Here in 2016, we jokingly considered changing the name of the festival to Trebek Fest,” said Pelletier.
The mural announcement also includes an anecdote about Trebek’s visit to Sudbury, and his receipt of an honourary diploma from Sudbury Secondary School. Trebek sent back a funny thank you note. “I plan to use it to lobby for a raise in salary,” he wrote. “Still have fond memories of Sudbury High.”
Up Here is an annual urban art and music festival that has curated over 50 pieces of public art since its inception in 2015. The festival will welcome back live music with a series of free outdoor concerts taking place on Durham Street in downtown Sudbury from August 20 to 22.. Up Here Square, the festival’s main site adorned with its 10 metre high geodesic dome, pop-up bar, and DJs will open to the public a week before the festival as of August 13.
For more information about the festival, visit uphere.com.