A collection of lakecity artists have come together to provide the residents of Vintage Living’s newly opened Cariboo Place with a new artistic view.
Cariboo Place, after years of construction, officially opened its doors in April this year to provide long-term care for 72 lakecity senior citizens. As they have been settled in, however, many have come to realize some of the residents have no view to speak of on the ground floor and instead stare at the brick wall that makes up the back of the Cariboo Regional District Library.
When Chip Schick, owner of NAPA Auto Parts – W.L. Forestry Supplies Ltd, moved his parents into the facility he saw a need for the wall to be painted. Schick had watched his grandmother stare out a window at a wall and knows that many of the people in the building will be staring at that wall. So, he figured they should have something nice to look at.
“They’ve done everything for us their whole lives so it’s time for us to give back a little,” Schick said.
Shortly after moving his parents in, Schick put out a call on social media wondering if any local artists were planning to beautify the wall with a mural of some kind. He was blown away when both the artists and community as a whole responded positively to the idea.
Six local muralists and artists volunteered their services online including Dwayne Davis, Steven Davis-Gosling, Jazmyn Douillard, Al-Lisa ‘Miss White Spider’ McKay, Tiffany Jorgensen and Sarah Sigurdson.
Shortly after, Downtown Williams Lake became involved to help facilitate and organize the project.
Executive director Stefanie Hendrickson said at a meeting at the BIA on Thursday, June 6, that Downtown Williams Lake is happy to take part in beautification projects like this while supporting the community as a whole. Hendrickson said that this project will be made possible via a collaboration with Vantage Living, the City of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District. As of the Thursday meeting, the CRD has given initial approval for the project and Hendrickson and the artists are currently working out the financial concerns.
“Hopefully the whole community will come together and make this happen,” Hendrickson said. “(There is a) ton of passion and enthusiasm, all the artists are really excited. I don’t think we’ve seen anything of this capacity with community collaboration in public art (in Williams Lake) in the downtown.”
Each of the participating artists will be given an equal section of wall to do with as they see fit but that leads into and melds with the pieces to either side of it. The result will be a large, unique and interconnected mural representing everything Williams Lake and the Cariboo is about.
Sigurdson, a mother of three and a longtime artist, surveyed the residents of Cariboo Place for ideas for the mural they would be viewing on a regular basis. The majority of those she talked of the importance of natural elements including mountains, forests and animals, something she and the other artists expressed an interest in doing.
“The experience (interviewing them) was wonderful. They liked being included and had really great ideas… I think it’s a really good opportunity for them to feel a part of the community,” Sigurdson said.
She became involved after being tagged by friends on Schick’s Facebook post and after meeting him she said the ball started rolling.
The community involvement, artist collaboration and way to give back to the residents of Cariboo Place were all factors in her interest and ultimate commitment to the project, Sigurdson said.
One of the things she wants to include in her portion for sure is a giant hummingbird and a lake, due to her love of water.
Davis-Gosling is an experienced muralist who has been apprenticing under his father for the last few years at Davis Arts and has worked on many of the murals scattered across the downtown. This mural will be one of the largest he’s ever worked on and is something he is very excited to start doing.
Typically with most of the other murals he’s worked on, Davis-Gosling has done more of the painting side of the business rather than designing the project. As he will have his own section to work on he looks forward to learning “the nuts and bolts” of the mural business and getting a chance to design his own work.
Specifically, Davis-Gosling plans to do a bear fishing scene of some kind for the mural, though he’s open to adding a man in a boat if needed
“I’m very excited to call this place home and to see that the art community here really is in bloom and that people really are enjoying it. I think it’s good for the community, I enjoy doing it and I’m glad to see it’s something that appears to be flourishing here,” Davis-Gosling said.
For Jorgensen, this will be her second mural endeavour since her work went up at Mountview Elementary earlier this year. She finds the concept of the project to be super exciting and loved to see so many artists immediately come together in a spirit of friendly collaboration.
Turning the back of the library from a brick wall to a mural is critical for the lives of the residents of Cariboo Place, in Jorgensen’s opinion. While many are happy to come to an assisted living centre like this, she feels that some residents will miss the wide open spaces of their ranches and homes, so she’s happy to help do her part to bring it to them.
Her section of the wall will create a scene where the viewer is peering through flowers towards a grassy field with a herd of horses, her specialty, running free with mountains behind them. Many of the residents said they wanted to see horses which prompted Jorgensen to say “horses, that’s my jam man.”
Jorgensen hopes that the community will see how important and cool this project is and provide some funding for paints and other supplies the artists will need.
Davis, the lakecity’s resident muralist, said his primary interest and focus will be on the historical aspects of the mural including cars, a logging scene and other such scenes. He also plans to help with the logistics and organization of the project as much as possible, having worked on several of similar size in the past.
Before Schick put out the initial call for artists, Davis said a contractor and several people around town had told him something would need to be done about that wall. When he saw so many local artists express an interest in doing it, he jumped at the chance to work with them.
“Normally I’m the person going in and coming up with the ideas all by myself, which is fun in a way but to be actually interacting with other artists and their styles, it pumps me up,” Davis said.