‘Lifting Hands’ mural on White Rock wall celebrates community’s COVID efforts

Rachel Yu, 17, works on the ‘Lifting Hands’ mural, underway on a wall of The Summit complex, across from the Peace Arch Hospital emergency entrance. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Gary Xie (left) and Cindy Zhang helped plan the ‘Lifting Hands’ mural, where painting work continued Wednesday (Aug. 12) morning, on a wall of The Summit complex, across from the Peace Arch Hospital emergency entrance. (Tracy Holmes photo)
As Gary Xie and Cindy Zhang look on from above, painters (from front) Stuti Sharma, Olyvia Guo, Cindy Li and Ruby Kramer pause their work Wednesday (Aug. 12) to pose for a photo. (Tracy Holmes photo)
The team at work on the ‘Lifting Hands’ mural Wednesday (Aug. 12) morning (from left): Gary Xie, Cindy Zhang, Yolanda Zhai, Rachel Yu, Christina Yang, Stuti Sharma, Ruby Kramer, Olyvia Guo and Cindy Li. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Painters at work on the ‘Lifting Hands’ mural Wednesday morning included (from front) Stuti Sharma, Olyvia Guo, Cindy Li and Ruby Kramer. (Tracy Holmes photo)
The mural is underway on an exterior wall of The Summit, across from the hospital’s emergency entrance. (Tracy Holmes photo)
A ‘reveal party’ to celebrate the completed mural is planned for Monday (Aug. 17). (Tracy Holmes photo)

A colourful celebration of community during the pandemic is coming together on a wall in White Rock, and those behind it are hopeful that frontline workers – specifically, those in health care and emergency services in the South Surrey and White Rock area – will quite literally lend a hand to its final touches.

Gary Xie and Cindy Zhang said hand prints of local health care workers, police officers and firefighters are to be added to their group’s ‘Lifting Hands’ mural during a “reveal party” set for Monday (Aug. 17) afternoon.

“We’re doing something that really celebrates and appreciates the people that have been supporting the community,” Xie said Wednesday (Aug. 12) of the mural, as work continued behind him.

Xie and Zhang are among more than two dozen students and grads from Semiahmoo, Earl Marriott and Elgin Park secondaries, as well as Southridge School, who are involved with the project.

It grew from a student-led campaign that was launched by Xie and his sister Lisa – Say Thanks Surrey – in May to help raise money for health-care workers, through the by-donation sale of brightly coloured lawn signs.

READ MORE: ‘Thank You’ sign campaign aims to raise money for Surrey, Peace Arch hospitals

The sign campaign raised more than $1,000 – not to mention spirits.

Xie said Wednesday that residents of The Summit condominium, located on North Bluff Road adjacent to Peace Arch Hospital, were so impressed with the artwork on the signs that they asked if the students would be interested in creating a mural for an exterior wall of their complex, one that faces the hospital’s emergency entrance.

The students jumped at the opportunity, securing a $1,500 Rising Youth Grant, embarking on extensive brainstorming and consulting with well-known White Rock artist Jim Davidson (who proposed the thank-you mural for the city’s West Beach waterfront parkade).

The end result has been unfolding on the 14-by-44-foot concrete canvas over the past two weeks.

“It’s been super-awesome,” Zhang beamed of the mural’s progress. “It changes so much every time I come here.”

Xie noted the wall was “ugly” prior to the project – covered in black stains and graffiti.

Wednesday, it was a rainbow of colours, depicting elements ranging from Semiahmoo Peninsula landmarks such as the pier and the Peace Arch monument, to hands lifted in unison, working together to hold all of those elements high.

Summit resident Heather Christie described it as “phenomenal.”

“It’s the best ever,” she said, noting when she tells health-care workers of the reveal party, it’s with the message that the mural “was done for you and our community, just to uplift everyone.”

“Tears me up,” she told Peace Arch News.

Monday’s reveal party is set to get underway at 3 p.m. Local health-care workers and emergency personnel interested in adding their hand prints to the wall are asked to RSVP by clicking here so that the students can organize enough paint.

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