This winter, Campbell River Arts Council’s Community Engagement Coordinator, TaraLee Houston worked with the children and families of Strong Start at Sandowne Elementary School and Sherwin Williams to create a new mural.
“The Sea to Sky community art project with Strong Start children and families combines my two passions working with children and families and creating art in a dialogue about the earth. So, merging these two compelling elements is a great opportunity to connect my art practice with the families here,” said Houston.
It was Karen Lutz, Sandowne’s Strong Start Facilitator who first envisioned the mural for her classroom and approached the Arts Council with the idea. Lutz had already sourced recycled chalkboards for the project, which would allow the finished product to be an interactive, magnetic mural for children and fellow teachers to use. Sherwin Williams Paint generously donated paint and supplies for the mural to offset costs. This project is in collaboration with the Campbell River Arts Council’s Arts Based Community Development initiative. The program’s aim is to contribute positively to the economic, cultural and social development of Campbell River. Houston worked as both facilitator and creator with families involved in the mural project. Programming was centered around a sea, land and sky theme. A one day, hands on workshop produced the finished, interactive Sea to Sky Community Mural. Children and families helped paint the water using movement and paint. Shana Smith, Sandowne Elementary’s Aboriginal Support Worker worked with the children and families involved with the mural project to create fun, interactive songs, music and play on mural painting day.
The mural will be a permanent fixture in Sandowne’s Strong Start room and will be the setting where the children’s art can be changed and integrated into the mural as an ever-changing landscape with stories, teachings, time and seasons. The mural will be a reminder of our connections with each other and the earth. The magnetic surface of the mural and sea to sky landscape will scaffold the imagination and can be used as an interactive landscape for families of Strong Start for years to come.