PHOTOS: Inaugural mural festival brightens up downtown core of Fraser Valley city

Artist Kevin Ledo steps back to look at his mural of Inez Louis while painting it on the back of a building on Victoria Avenue in downtown Chilliwack on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Artist Kevin Ledo steps back to look at his mural of Inez Louis while painting it on the back of a building on Victoria Avenue in downtown Chilliwack on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Artist Kevin Ledo chats with a security guard, who brought him bottles of water, about his mural of Inez Louis on Victoria Avenue in downtown Chilliwack on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Artist Kevin Ledo chats with a security guard, who brought him bottles of water, about his mural of Inez Louis on Victoria Avenue in downtown Chilliwack on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Artist Kevin Ledo works on his mural of Inez Louis at the back of a building on Victoria Avenue in downtown Chilliwack on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Artist Kevin Ledo works on his mural of Inez Louis at the back of a building on Victoria Avenue in downtown Chilliwack on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Artist Kevin Ledo works on his mural of Inez Louis at the back of a building on Victoria Avenue in downtown Chilliwack on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Artist Kevin Ledo works on his mural of Inez Louis at the back of a building on Victoria Avenue in downtown Chilliwack on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vancouver artist David Ullock (aka Druvid) paints an abstract ‘dream creature’ mural in on Mill Street on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Vancouver artist David Ullock (aka Druvid) paints an abstract ‘dream creature’ mural in on Mill Street on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Carrielynn Victor works on her rabbit mural on Wellington Avenue on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Carrielynn Victor works on her rabbit mural on Wellington Avenue on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Carrielynn Victor works on her rabbit mural with fellow artist Chantelle Trainor-Matties on Wellington Avenue on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Carrielynn Victor works on her rabbit mural with fellow artist Chantelle Trainor-Matties on Wellington Avenue on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
People walk past Kyle Mirva’s mural on Mill Street on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)People walk past Kyle Mirva’s mural on Mill Street on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Carin Bondar’s colourful glass mosaic mural, seen here on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, is located on Mill Street. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Carin Bondar’s colourful glass mosaic mural, seen here on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, is located on Mill Street. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vancouver artist Oksana Gaidasheva works on her ‘yawning kitty’ mural in Court Lane off Mill Street on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Vancouver artist Oksana Gaidasheva works on her ‘yawning kitty’ mural in Court Lane off Mill Street on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vancouver artist Oksana Gaidasheva mixes paint for her ‘yawning kitty’ mural in Court Lane off Mill Street on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Vancouver artist Oksana Gaidasheva mixes paint for her ‘yawning kitty’ mural in Court Lane off Mill Street on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vancouver artist Oksana Gaidasheva takes a break from painting her ‘yawning kitty’ mural in Court Lane off Mill Street on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)Vancouver artist Oksana Gaidasheva takes a break from painting her ‘yawning kitty’ mural in Court Lane off Mill Street on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Walking through downtown Chilliwack is like perusing an outdoor art gallery.

The inaugural Chilliwack Mural Festival features eight Canadian artists who have transformed drab brick walls and boarded-up doorways into colourful works of public art.

The painting of the murals wraps up on Aug. 20 and includes five Chilliwack artists: Mavik, Chris Woods, Carrielynn Victor, Carin Bondar and Kyle Mirva. They are joined by featured artist Kevin Ledo of Montreal, as well as Oksana Gaidasheva and David Ullock (aka Druvid) both of Vancouver.

It all came about when organizer Amber Price “ran out of walls” at her business, The Book Man. The back walls of her store have been enhanced with four different murals over the years.

Her love of murals is so huge she wanted to beautify neighbouring businesses. So Price began to research mural festivals and ended up meeting up with a woman in Nelson, B.C. last summer who was organizing the second annual mural festival in that city.

When she was in Nelson, Price saw a piece by Kevin Ledo. She instantly knew she wanted one of his murals in Chilliwack and soon after began planning for the inaugural Chilliwack Mural Festival.

Then COVID-19 hit.

“I’ve been dreaming of this for a year… it’s just a shame that we can’t have the party at the end.”

She had big plans for a youth-focussed wrap-up party with skateboard halfpipes, dancers, live music, a light show and a DJ.

When the pandemic hit, plans changed.

She then decided she would bring just Ledo into town to paint a big mural. But, one thing led to another and it “snowballed” from there. Before she knew it, the Chilliwack Mural Festival had grown to eight artists.

The event is in partnership with the Chilliwack Community Arts Council and the more than $22,000 in funding comes from the arts council, Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network, The Book Man, Tourism Chilliwack, City of Chilliwack, and Chilliwack Citizens for Change. Additionally, various local businesses and families have pitched in money and supplies.

The murals are located in the area of Wellington Avenue, Mill Street and Victoria Avenue and they range in size and theme.

Ledo’s piece is of local singer-songwriter Inez Louis. It is, by far, the biggest mural in the festival taking up the majority of the back of a brick building located at Victoria Avenue and Mill Street. The image of Inez for the mural was taken by her husband Justin Louis.

Other pieces include a rainbow coloured mosaic glass mural by Bondar, an abstract “dream creature” by Druvid, and a rabbit by Victor.

RELATED: Murals ‘help build community’ says Indigenous Chilliwack artist

One mural that was completed in Court Lane off Mill Street is of a “kitty yawning,” said artist Gaidasheva. It’s not an angry cat as some people have suggested.

Some artists project their image on the wall and then use pencil to outline the design, others use a grid as a guide, while some paint freehand while looking at their work on a smartphone or piece of paper.

The artwork has been installed in the storefronts and walls of both occupied and vacant buildings.

“Some people sleeve their arms, I want to sleeve all the buildings,” Price said, referring to people with many tattoos.

One objective is to attract folks, and not just the locals, to downtown Chilliwack.

“My goal is 40 permanent pieces in the downtown. That’s enough to make people pull off the highway and come downtown.”

Having done a lot of research on public art over the years, Price explains some of the benefits.

“Statistically it lowers property crime, it raises civic pride and it gives people points of conversation.”

It also makes people slow down in their travels and interact with the art, whether that be by taking a photo of it or chatting with a stranger about the piece.

“It creates these little pockets of art all over the place. I think these things raise our feelings of happiness and connectedness.”

Price said Chilliwack’s youth experience “brain drain.” They leave to go to cities like Vancouver, and she wants to draw them back to Chilliwack.

“I want to show them that the creative class is valued… that their work, their minds are valued here.”

As of Thursday, Aug. 20, all of the murals will be complete.

And although there won’t be a big party to wrap it all up, Price is encouraging people to walk around downtown and enjoy the newly installed murals safely while supporting local businesses.

READ MORE: Mayor votes against city funding for mural festival


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Art

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey chief constable says ‘comprehensive’ public engagement to be done this year

Norm Lipinski says Surrey Police Service has ‘good momentum’

Burnsview Secondary in a Google Streetview photo.
UPDATE: Knife recovered after schoolyard stabbing in North Delta

One teen now out of hospital, and other has been released to custody of family with conditions

The City of Surrey is seeking public input on its walking routes, including Semiahmoo Trail. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Surrey seeks input from seniors on city’s walking routes

Online survey is part of city’s Age Friendly Strategy

Surrey-raised forward Jujhar Khaira in action with Edmonton Oilers. (Photo: nhl.com)
Q&A: Surrey’s Jujhar Khaira credits parents for their hard work on his path to NHL

Port Kells-raised player talks about his journey to pro hockey with Edmonton Oilers

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Most Read