Residents and visitors to Kaslo are enjoying a new mural after two years of fundraising and planning by a local committee.
The ArtScape Committee, created in 2021, is a multi-year initiative of the Kaslo and Area Chamber of Commerce with the goal of attracting visitors to Kaslo. The committee was spearheaded by former Chamber member Dana Blouin. Inspired by the Nelson International Mural Festival, Blouin wanted to bring colour and art into the streets of Kaslo, but with a local emphasis.
“We want to create a landscape of art, as the name says!”
ArtScape’s first project was to replace the beloved but faded May Pole mural on the Kaslo Community Pharmacy building. Created in 2002, the May Pole mural has been a staple in the village, but it was time for an update.
Ward Taylor, pharmacy owner, was a big supporter of the project, providing not only the space for the mural but also a generous donation.
The committee invited Tyler Toews of Canadian Murals to help bring the dream to life. Toews was one of the original mentors of the May Pole project.
“He has been very committed to realizing our vision,” Blouin said.
Over two years, Toews worked to develop two designs for consideration of the ArtScape Committee. Input from the committee’s varied members, and other organizations and individuals in the community, was essential for deciding on the final design.
The new mural includes historic and contemporary images of Kaslo, including a First Nations family in a traditional canoe, and a photograph taken of Kootenay Lake from Ward Taylor’s airplane. Arching across the mural is a branch of cherry blossoms to pay homage to the village’s agricultural history. Specific design elements were also included to align with Taylor’s other two pharmacy buildings in New Denver and Castlegar.
ArtScape was fortunate to have Janice Alpine’s input on the final design. Alpine is a Business Development and Tourism Engagement officer from the Ktunaxa Nation.
“The whole committee put a lot of thought and effort into guiding this project and we are really proud of the result,” said Blouin.
The public has responded very positively. Many villagers were excited to see something new and different on the main street. ArtScape will commemorate the long-standing May Pole mural with a professional photograph and story featured in a prominent area in Kaslo.
“The former mural held a very nostalgic place in many hearts,” said Blouin, “so we definitely wanted to honour all that mural had brought to our community.”
After encountering some roadblocks and working hard for two years to bring the new mural to life, ArtScape will take a small break before its next project.
“There will be opportunities for all forms of art,” said Blouin. “[The mural] seemed like a great inaugural project for ArtScape to tackle.”
Mural funders included Community Fund of North Kootenay Lake, Columbia Basin Trust Resident-Directed grant program, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, Kootenay Savings Community Foundation, JVH Grad Class of 2023, May Days 50/50 Raffle (2022 and 2023), Kaslo Community Pharmacy and Ace Hardware.
By Rachael Lesosky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Oct 19, 2023 at 17:26