Bright colours are mood lifters.
That’s why a trip to a once forlorn lot in downtown Trail to take in a new mural makes not only for a sightly diversion, but it may also be a great spirit lifter.
That’s the goal of the new panoramic piece that artist Jessa Gilbert created over a few days last week in the parking expanse across from the Bailey Theatre, located on the south end of Cedar Avenue.
“The way I try to think about this mural, in particular, is that rather than looking, you can come and engage with it,” Gilbert told the Times. “It’s multi-facted and there’s so many little nooks and niches to it, that I really see it more as an environment that people can be a part of,” she said.
“The goal of the artwork is to celebrate wilderness, adventure and this landscape we are so fortunate to call home. So these bright colours, I hope, emit a sense of joy and this uplifting presence, especially on the cloudy more wintry days to come,” said Gilbert.
“It’s nice to have a pop of colour and a place you can go to be reminded that bright colours and warm moments are just around the corner.”
It seems like the idea of painting the old retaining wall and the skeleton of an old house that once stood on the property surfaced a long time ago. But in reality, in this time of pandemic, it was only in late January.
Read more: City green-lights new mural
That’s when Trail council gave the mural a thumbs-up at the request of Nadine Tremblay. She’s guest services manager in the regionally-operated hub called the Greater Trail Community Arts Centre, which houses not only the community theatre and VISAC art gallery, but also Selkirk College campus and the Trail Senior Citizens Association.
“The aim is to clean up and create a bright, vibrant, welcoming, and arty area in the newly named ‘Arts District’ (self-named) of Trail, next to the Greater Trail Community and Arts Centre,” said Tremblay.
“Trail Arts Council in partnership with VISAC is keen to make the theatre and gallery entrance more reflective outside of what people experience inside our spaces,” she said.
“Also, public art is simply a beautiful gift for everyone to enjoy for free and it can define a place indicating what is important to a community. It already brings a smile to my face, so it definitely brightens my day.”
The mural was mostly funded by Columbia Basin Trust. The arts council and Selkirk also contributed financially with the City of Trail and the regional district providing in-kind backing.
Muralist Jessa Gilbert grew up in Upstate New York before moving to Vermont to study Art and Art History at the University of Vermont, and to snowboard. She worked primarily as a figurative painter and product developer while also competing nationally in freestyle snowboarding.
Relocating to B.C. in 2013 changed her art focus, and Gilbert is now a self-described experiential landscape artist.
She is currently based in Revelstoke.
This was Gilbert’s first visit to Trail.
“It’s been great fun and it’s been a really beautiful stay in a beautiful river valley,” she said. “It seems like the city has a really rich and vibrant history with cool architecture. And the people I’ve been working with have been great so I feel really supported by the community.”
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