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.”
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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.