After consultation with the Physician Mural Design Team, consisting of Drs. Babensee, Benzer, Peter Krampl, and Carolyn Stark, the group mutually chose ‘Uplifting and Joyful’ as the mural’s focus, and unanimously agreed on a concept proposed by Tyler Toews.Photo: Submitted

After consultation with the Physician Mural Design Team, consisting of Drs. Babensee, Benzer, Peter Krampl, and Carolyn Stark, the group mutually chose ‘Uplifting and Joyful’ as the mural’s focus, and unanimously agreed on a concept proposed by Tyler Toews.Photo: Submitted

Greater Trail doctors commission massive ‘Gratitude Mural’

Kootenay Boundary Physicians Association strive to uplift and bring joy into an otherwise dark time

After more than a year of COVID, the collective spirit of Greater Trail residents can definitely use a boost.

Hence the theme of the latest Kootenay Boundary Physicians Association (KBPA) project – a massive mural painted on the hospital exterior with the theme “Uplifting and Joyful”.

“We wanted to give everyone associated with the hospital and in the community a visual that would lift their spirits,” said project lead Dr. Sue Babensee. “We felt this was so important as we all work our way through the pandemic and other health challenges together.

“It will hopefully be both a reflection of what we’ve achieved and motivate us to move forward.”

The idea, which grew from the positive energy of last year’s Gratitude Garden installation, will flourish throughout May 2021 on the hospital’s back entrance.

KBPA secured well-known artist Tyler Toews of Canadian Murals to paint the 70-foot mural on the north and west wall at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.

Initially, Dr. Sue Benzer, KBRH Chief of Staff, inspired by the smiles the Gratitude Garden project at the back entrance brought to staff, proposed a smaller mural to go behind the garden.

When Dr. Babensee explored options, the idea expanded into a 21-meter (70 feet) by 16-meter (55 feet ) 3-D commission for Toews.

Known for his passion about nature, Toews’ colourful murals can be seen on many Greater Trail buildings including the Trail Memorial Centre and the Rossland Cenotaph, as well as the BC Children’s Hospital.

After consultation with the Physician Mural Design Team, consisting of Drs. Babensee, Benzer, Peter Krampl, and Carolyn Stark, the group mutually chose ‘Uplifting and Joyful’ as the mural’s focus, and unanimously agreed on a concept proposed by Toews.

“The proposed mural is a colourful, anamorphic design that will create an optical illusion as it interacts with the architecture of the building,” said Toews. “Featuring a large red ribbon that forms a heart of gratitude, the completed painting will transcend the boundaries of spatial design and perception.”

KBdoctors.ca are keen to share the progress of this exciting, one-of-a-kind project, and will record and unveil the mural’s development up the wall with a weekly video posted on Facebook every Friday.

Much credit goes to Ruth Kohut, KBRH Director of Clinical Operations, who gathered support from Interior Health (IH) for this exciting art adventure.

“Art is what grounds us all individually as it reminds us to stop, reflect, and feel inspired,” Kohut said. “Art also enables connections with others by sharing stories about the world we live in, our culture, our communities.”

KBPA is proud to have this project, which will reflect its community commitments and connections.

The mural’s design, to be unveiled virtually as it progresses through May, will mirror the growth spring offers. The mural will give staff, visitors, and the community a memorable image to take with them.

Follow the mural’s progress on the KBdoctors Facebook page, and contribute to the story on instagram @kbdoctors.ca @canadianmurals #KBRHGratitideMural.

Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital