By Betsy Kline
Columbia Avenue is soon to receive a colourful facelift. The 500 foot concrete wall along Sherbico Hill will be painted with a series of murals. The project, called “Colours of Castlegar,” will begin this month. The area is one where people are always in motion, whether walking, driving, skateboarding or biking; it connects one end of town to the other giving inspiration to the theme “in movement.”
Funding for the project is coming from the city’s community enhancement budget. According to Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, the Transportation and Civic Works committee has been working on this idea for a couple of years.
“We as a council are very excited about this project,” said the councillor. “The idea started with the thought of connecting north and south Castlegar. The theme ties the flow of traffic and the river through town and onward as everything moves through the Kootenays.” Pictured below, the retaining wall to be beautified.
The project coordinator is Nelson artist Amber Santos. Amber and her husband Sergio have been involved in painting community murals for many years. “I think this is a really great opportunity for mentorship,” Santos explained. “The youth as well as the rest of the community will be able to witness the process of creating a mural. It is a wonderful kind of learning for everyone.”
One section of the wall is being reserved for a group of youth organized by the Community Services Youth Council. The youth will be mentored by three local artists, Bryn Stevenson, Matty Hillman and Coleman Webb, to complete a collaborative work. The goal of including youth is to engage them in shaping their town, fostering a sense of care and identity.
The project hopes to inspire the community by bringing diverse mural art to the city and introducing it to talented artists. Amber Santos elaborated, “The objective is to beautify that space and change the day-to-day experience of people passing through that area through the uplifting power that art has.”