Legion, pharmacy and medical centre to get makeover during Mural Fest

The public will be invited to watch as the historic Peachland Legion receives a mural that will be a unique interpretation of gratitude and remembrance. Photo Alex Morrison

Joanne Layh

Exterior walls of the Peachland Legion, Peachland Pharmacy and Peachland Medical Centre are about to be transformed for the town’s inaugural mural festival, which is set to take place over the Labour Day long weekend from Sep 2 – 4.

Festival organizers say the first mural artists will be arriving in town this week with others following through the month. The grand finale and mural unveilings will take place during the outdoor Making Waves Mural Festival.

“With a world-class line up of professional mural artists, and a slate of local musicians, other performers and kid’s entertainment, the family-friendly festival celebrates public art and building community,” says Peachland Community Connects Society chair Shelley Sweeney.

The Making Waves Mural Festival is organized by the society with a mission to bring specific areas within Peachland to life with murals and public art.

The murals will feature Peachland-related themes, such as water, wildlife, community, reconciliation, and positivity.

Artist Sheldon Louis, Penticton Indian Band, will take on this wall of the Peachland Medical Centre building. Photo Making Waves Mural Festival

This wall of the Peachland Pharmacy will feature work by artist Nereo Zorro. Photo Making Waves Mural Festival

The artists welcome everyone to come by and chat and to learn more about their works.

“While most people would agree that Peachland is one of the Okanagan’s most beautiful towns, the back streets are grey and unwelcoming,” says Sweeney. “We want to create a year-round outdoor art gallery that will encourage visitors and delight residents 12 months of the year.”

A proposal for a mural festival was first presented to the community in April 2021, when Peachland Community Connects Society came to council hoping for their endorsement of the mural project and permission to use some of the district owned buildings as possible canvases.

At that time then chief administrative officer Joe Mitchell recommended that should council wish to entertain a decision on public art, that a policy be implemented prior to proceeding.

He added that given their current workload, staff wouldn’t be able to complete all of the research and policy creation that would be required for a 2021 mural festival.

However, the Tourism and Economic Development Committee (TEDC) volunteered to complete the background research on a policy, including review of similar policies from other municipalities in the province, and council directed them to complete the research with input from the Peachland Community Arts Council.

Since then, a public art policy has been implemented, which establishes a long-term vision for public art in Peachland and provides a framework for program administration and management.

However, no municipally owned buildings will be featured in this year’s event.

This year’s fest will see three walls in Peachland transformed by mural artists, with wall donors including Peachland Pharmacy, Peachland Medical Centre and Peachland Legion #69.

“There is nothing more peaceful and awe-inspiring than the beauty of art — and I can’t think of a better canvas than that of our scenic town of Peachland, said Mayor Cindy Fortin. “The vibrant and skillful mural creations will only enhance our community with colour and story. With the new art policy in place, it is the perfect time for the inaugural Peachland mural festival, and I look forward to it becoming an annual event.”

Programs, schedules, and information about the artists and performances can be found at peachlandmakingwaves.com.

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