Sarah Benson-Lord, Trail Museum and Archives Manager, stands at the top of the Riverfront Centre’s grand staircase. Scroll down to the bottom of the story to see the wall the mural will be painted on. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Sarah Benson-Lord, Trail Museum and Archives Manager, stands at the top of the Riverfront Centre’s grand staircase. Scroll down to the bottom of the story to see the wall the mural will be painted on. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Wall mural coming to Trail Riverfront Centre

Columbia Basin Trust is providing over $244,000 to 13 public art projects in 11 communities

Silver City history, literacy, and a little bit of whimsy will soon adorn a retaining wall behind the Riverfront Centre.

“We thought why not tie in what’s going on in the Riverfront Centre in terms of heritage and literacy,” began Museum and Archives Manager Sarah Benson-Lord.

“And make that space feel more inclusive.”

Brush strokes from Tyler Toews of Canadian Murals will start adding colour to the plain concrete surface now that the City of Trail has secured an $8,500 public art grant through Columbia Basin Trust (Trust).

“We hope to start at the beginning of September,” Benson-Lord told the Trail Times. “There’s a bit of cracking in the concrete so there is some site prep to do. We are going to fix that and prime it up so our mural artist can apply his paint.”

The vision for a playful wall mural was pitched to Benson-Lord by library staff, and she says the project was a perfect fit for the Trust’s new public arts program.

“The idea is to showcase Basin artists in Basin towns.” she explained. “We already have a long history of murals, and when were were speaking with Tyler Toews, who’s done all of our murals, we thought this will be number seven, but a little bit smaller.”

The concept is for Toews, a Nelson-based artist, to paint a line of books on a bookshelf all down the wall in such a way that it will have a 3D effect.

“We hope to include local authors on the spines of these books and heritage titles,” said Benson-Lord. “And we want to incorporate a little of the river … We went in that direction of whimsy and playfulness because the wall is right outside the building with the children’s section and multi-purpose programming room overlooking that space.”

The Riverfront Centre has become a vibrant community hub since it opened in April, so the 112-foot-long mural isn’t where ideas for public art, at the locale, will end.

“We feel like we are actually creating a more welcoming outdoor space for future programming,” she added. “And we’ve got some big ideas for what we want to do with the exterior of that building as well as make better use of Jubilee Park.”

Related story here: Take a tour of the Trail museum

Related story here: 9,000 visitors to Riverfront Centre

In all, 13 works of public art can now go ahead after the Trust granted $244,000, collectively, to 11 Basin communities.

Most immediate is the City of Rossland.

The Rossland Historical Museum and Archives received $15,500 to install a 3D mural to the exterior south side of the museum.

It will be visible from the highway and will be one of the first things people see when driving into town.

“Public art has long-term impact in several significant ways,” said the Trust’s Aimee Ambrosone.“It can engage minds, offer learning experiences, help provide a living to local artists and create a draw that affects the economies of our communities.”

Through these grants, Basin communities can purchase original works of fixed art—from murals to sculptures—created by Basin artists and install them in well-travelled spaces accessible by all. This was the first intake of the $750,000, three-year program.

The Elkford Arts Council Society will oversee a collaborative process to install public art on a wall in the community’s main facility: the Elkford Community Conference Centre. It will be putting out a call to Basin artists for entries for artworks in any two-dimensional medium, from metalwork, to mosaics, to photography. The final piece will be unveiled during Wildcat Days in June 2019.

“Elkford is fundamentally an industrial town, and while most of us have grown up in the area or moved here for work, we believe that public art has the power to energize and enhance our public spaces, making us think and transform where we live, work and play,” said Brian Bisset, Elkford Arts Council Director. “Public art helps celebrate the qualities that make one town different from another and will often reach a demographic that would never otherwise set foot in an art gallery or museum.”

In Cranbrook, the Ktunaxa Nation Council will paint a mural on all four inside walls of its publicly used government building gymnasium and on an outside wall of its Operation Street Angel drop-in centre. Painted by ʔakisq̓nuk artist Pj Gilhuly, the gym mural will depict seasons of the year and associated Ktunaxa cultural activities and beliefs, while the Street Angel mural will show a landscape and the Ktunaxa creation story.

“These are a great way for us to creatively represent aspects of our cultural identity using art as a medium,” said Donald Sam, Director of the Traditional Knowledge and Language Sector. “Art has a way of connecting with people on different levels—everyone will be able to connect with various parts on an individual basis and collectively it will depict a story of our cultural foundations. Cultural expression through art is a progression through healing and toward reconciliation.”

The Revelstoke Visual Arts Society will put a unique spin on public art—by placing it in alleyways. Twelve large-scale digital artworks by local artist Rob Buchanan will be printed on aluminum, framed, hung on alley walls and lit. Themes in these “Art Alleries” will range from landscapes to abstract art, with the locations and art selections still to be determined.

“Alleyways lie on the edges of society and are not often associated with art or tourism—however, they are vital as potentially thriving public spaces in new urban design,” said Victoria Strange, Executive Director. “The unexpected walk through an Art Allery will hook locals and visitors and encourage them to rethink the idea of how art can enhance alternative spaces and create a beautiful experience within a typically marginalized area.”

Basin arts councils, local governments and First Nations are eligible to apply to the program. The grant will fund up to 80 per cent of the cost of the artwork and installation, to a maximum of $30,000. The next intake will be in spring 2019. Learn more at ourtrust.org/publicart.

This program is the latest way the Trust has addressed its arts, culture and heritage strategic priority. The Trust also offers an Arts and Culture Venue Grant and provides support to the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance to deliver the Arts and Culture Program. Learn more at ourtrust.org/artsculture.

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.

 

New public art is coming to a retaining wall behind the Trail Riverfront Centre as part of Columbia Basin Trust’s Public Arts Grants program. Submitted photo                                The retaining wall behind the Trail Riverfront Centre will be painted in a whimsical mural depicting the happenings inside the city’s newest landmark. (Photo submitted)

New public art is coming to a retaining wall behind the Trail Riverfront Centre as part of Columbia Basin Trust’s Public Arts Grants program. Submitted photo The retaining wall behind the Trail Riverfront Centre will be painted in a whimsical mural depicting the happenings inside the city’s newest landmark. (Photo submitted)