As We Grow, What Remains? is a collage composed of many photographs, illustrations, ephemera, and textures recently collected and combined with their personal image archive from living in Kitchener-Waterloo region. The artwork, installed as a vinyl image on the exterior of Market Square, explores the sense of familiarity that artist collaboration The Observatory (Lucy Bilson and Nicole Beno) have collected in their minds and have come to represent their unique experience of their respective neighbourhoods. Ultimately, the graphic quality of their design calls on some of these collected landmarks that specifically make this region feel like home.  

Bilson and Beno are fascinated by the way the built environment, public spaces, visual ephemera, textures, and colours all make up the fabric of how a city becomes familiar to its inhabitants. These are often public things that resonate very personally, such as a specific texture on a building, a sign along a trail, or the smell of a bakery that wafts past a particular intersection. Viewers encountering the piece may come to ask themselves: what does it mean to belong in a city that is constantly changing?

The Observatory is a collaboration between artists and designers Nicole Beno and Lucy Bilson, exploring visual storytelling in public spaces throughout Kitchener-Waterloo. Through curiosity, improvisation, and experiments with materials and technology, The Observatory investigates how visual ephemera create markers of memory.


This project is made possible through the support of the Good Foundation, Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and the Keith and Winifred Shantz fund for the arts held by Waterloo Region Community Foundation.