Donna Jean Mayne spent 10 years coordinating Windsor’s mural projects, designing and coordinating some 40 of them, from Souvenir Views – four postcards of historic Windsor on an apartment building at Giles and Ouellette Ave. to Canadian History Made in Windsor, seven giant panels on a wall on Ouellette just north of Wyandotte St.
“I was the art director and the concepts were mine on these,” though others were also involved in the designs and painting, she says.
But when the project ended Mayne, a Windsor native who went to Vincent Massey high school and the University of Windsor visual arts program, had to reinvent herself as an artist.
“And I wanted to stay closer to the ground,” she says. “So I started sculpting.”
Mayne hopes to soon start selling her sculptures, having started her business in 2013.
The sculptures were a hit from the start, with works now on public display in South Dakota and New Brunswick.
Locally, she’s had works displayed at Sho and Artspeak galleries, and soon will have one on display at Franco Angileri tailor shop on Erie Steet.
Mayne had never been to ArtPrize, now in its seventh year and where a combination of public voting and expert juries determine the best works.
Two $200,000 grand prizes and more than $500,000 altogether are awarded.
ArtPrize has more than 160 venues – from restaurants to stores to bars and public parks – where art is displayed over three square miles in the city’s downtown, and some 400,000 visitors descend annually for the show, this year between Sept. 21 and Oct. 9.
Mayne had never been to ArtPrize before and a local friend suggested she enter.
And the enthusiasm for her work was immediate.
“I started getting offers to display my work at various locations and venues,” she said.
“And I ended up choosing the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel because I though it was the most suitable for my type of work, and they gave me a really lovely section of their lobby to display my first piece.”
Mayne was time-pressed and after making a brief visit to the western Michigan city to install her piece, called Adamaris, Latin for “noble of the sea,” (photo above) she had to leave.
“I didn’t even have time to vote for myself,” she laughs.
Her first sculptures, including Adamaris, have had a combination of human and water themes, in part reflecting her own activism as a safe-water advocate.
“Her contemplative works embody tranquility and romance, favouring the exquisite grace of the human form, integrated with themes that echo the natural forces,” Mayne’s website says.
The sculptural figures touch or “test” waters with fingers or toes showing the relationship between humans and the natural world.
“I’m going to be doing something new later but this was a good start for me and I’m really happy by the way its been received,” she said.