Campbell River is officially part of a massive, nation-wide art project celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday next year.
Artists Phil Alain, Lewis Lavoie and Paul Lavoie have been making mosaic murals since 2003, this year they have decided to get the country involved and they selected Campbell River to be one of the stops on their tour. They were in town this week and invited the community to paint tiles for our community’s contribution to the project, which was unveiled Wednesday.
“Our goal with this project is to go from coast to coast, from Vancouver Island to Prince Edward Island, stopping in communities along the way, making a mural within each of those communities that represents each of those communities,” Alain says.
Like Campbell River’s mural, each mosaic represents the community in which it is created and depicts a train car. When they are all put together, they will make up a train representing the nation – which is fitting, as the murals themselves are made up of individual works of art put together to make one larger piece.
Each mosaic takes about 500 tiles to create, so they invited the community itself to paint them, after which the artists organized and placed them in the eight foot by eight foot mural.
“It will be a great mix of everyone from professional artists within the community right down to kids,” Alain says as a group of kids from a day camp through the City of Campbell River Parks, Recreation and Culture department painted tiles for the project Monday morning. “It’s really designed to be an inclusive, community-built work of art.”
Riverites who painted tiles for the mural join the likes of Canadian celebrities like Jann Arden, Rick Mercer and Sarah McLachlan who have all contributed to various murals for the project.
Laurel Sliskovic with the city’s Parks, Recreation and Culture department says projects like this are a great way for people who might not consider themselves to be artists to have a creative outlet and is a great opportunity for the community to engage with art in a new way.
“People are shy to participate in art,” she says. “I was, too. I don’t consider myself an artist in any way, but I painted a tile, because when it’s part of a bigger project like this, the pressure comes off, and you can just have fun with it. It just makes art more accessible for people.”
Sliskovic also had a booth at the Salmon Festival over the weekend where people could paint mosaic tiles and she says it was really nice to engage with people about what they are trying to accomplish.
“It was neat to be at the logger sports and have an art project going on,” she says. “There were a couple of brand new families to Campbell River that all painted tiles, and we got some visitors to the community to participate in what is a very unique project and see what arts and culture means to Campbell River. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.”
A permanent home for Campbell River’s mosaic mural has not been determined yet, but Sliskovic says it will be somewhere the public will have access to it, because they’re the ones who made it.
“This is one of those projects that people are going to see after it’s done and wish they had participated if they didn’t,” Sliskovic says.