After the City of Surrey released a corporate report in July about a potential mural project for Cloverdale, BIA director Paul Orazietti is saying, “hang on a minute.”
In the report, Parks and Rec. GM Laurie Cavan recommends “council authorize the Cloverdale Mural Project group to proceed” with their murals.
Orazietti thinks the mural project is a great idea, but noted there are other groups and other building owners that want to paint murals too and he wants to make sure everyone is on the same page.
“All we’re saying is, ‘Let’s work together on this.’ That way we’ll have a cohesive result that everyone can be happy with.”
Maria Koehn started the Cloverdale Mural Project with some other Cloverdale residents and artists in 2019. Koehn took her project to Cavan and the Parks and Rec. department earlier this year in an effort to get approval.
Orazietti said he’s talked with Koehn several times and he’s really excited about her project. He thinks it’ll be great for the town.
“When you start to look at the process, you start to say, ‘We need a plan.’”
He said a perfect example rests in the Murray Motors mural on the side of the old Surrey Leader building on 176th. The mural was painted for the 2006 film Deck the Halls.
“Part of what we, as a business community, want to do is to come back and say, ‘there are some premium sites we need to consider for murals,’ because, ultimately, right now, the rules are loose and someone can go up to a building owner and ask them if they want a mural.”
He asked what type of themes will fit with Cloverdale best.
“Do we want rodeo themes? Heritage themes? Film and television themes? Rural themes? These are questions that individual groups can’t answer.”
Orazietti wants the city to consider some sort of process that takes everything into account: cooperation with building owners, members of the business community, citizens, and business groups, such as the BIA and Chamber.
“What does everyone think and how does this fit in with the rest of the town?”
He said there’s a problem with a hodge-podge approach, where the city just approves this project or that project.
“You have no theme, no continuity and, usually, it’s more than one group with competing interests. And it’s not like all groups will have a complete understanding of what each other is doing, or that they will even have dialogue with each other.”
Orazietti said the city should create a plan for public art, murals, and placemaking, one that has a cohesive understanding for all communities.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is to talk with the city, and create a plan and come back and talk about a number of different placemaking components that involve public art.”
Orazietti said he doesn’t think any of the groups are in opposing camps, as everyone’s goal is to help create better spaces for the community.
“I think there’s … an ambitious desire for (the mural project group) to make their mark, but to do what they’re doing is, unfortunately, a bit ambitious. You want to make everything cohesive, that is the key part.”
Orazietti said he’s started a group called Vision Cloverdale, which seeks to bring all stakeholders together with the goal of working together to get art, placemaking, and other beautification efforts done with the greater community in mind.
Orazietti noted there is also already another mural group that may be painting some murals in Cloverdale.
“The city wants the other group, which is non-competing, to work with (the BIA),” said Orazietti. “So my concerns are that the rules aren’t laid out, there needs to be prioritization of space, and there needs to be a discussion about what everyone in the community and the business owners want to see.”