First responders and health care workers are soon to receive new recognition for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic – thanks to a new mural planned for the White Rock waterfront.
At the May 4 meeting council gave the go-ahead to a mural to thank frontline workers in the current crisis, proposed by artist Jim Davidson, planned for the south-facing exterior wall of the West Beach waterfront parkade.
Following a corporate report and recommendation from recreation and culture director Eric Stepura, council approved both the project and a $2,000 grant to fund it from the city’s community public art budget.
The project was put forward in a notice of motion by Coun. David Chesney on April 6, but a decision was deferred until April 14, so that a site for the mural could be identified by city staff.
Stepura said the parkade wall, at the corner of Vidal Street and Victoria Avenue, provides a “suitable, high-profile location on city property” for the art.
Chesney thanked Stepura for the speed of the process and his work to “step in and stick handle this thing through the paperwork,” and noted that a sketch of the work had just been received from the artist.
“What we see here tonight is a roughed version for illustration purposes,” he said. “(Davidson) is going to produce an actual painting from which he will make prints, and will take the original piece of art and donate it to the Museum and Archives for posterity.”
Chesney said the artist had also offered to paint, at no additional cost, another mural – just around the corner of the building on the west-facing wall – thanking retail workers and other individuals and organizations who have been helping the public through the pandemic.
“With predicted weather temperatures of 25 C. this week, I think the artist is just about ready to go,” he said.
Stepura noted the mural will be to the east of the door on the south side of the parkade, and above the bike racks, which he said would be removed temporarily during painting (scaffolding will also be up while the project is in progress, he added).
Both Couns. Christopher Trevelyan and Helen Fathers, while expressing support for the project, pointed out that it had skipped the usual process of being vetted by the city’s public art advisory panel.
“Although we’re fine in doing this, we have gone around them,” Trevelyan said. “I understand why. Time is of the essence – we want to get this out.
“I appreciate the public art advisory panel and everything they do, and really want to emphasize that this is a one-off, not a template for going around a committee of volunteers that really care deeply about public art in our city.”
“Perhaps there’s more people out there that would like to do more art within our city, and maybe this is just the first of many,” Fathers said.
“I welcome people coming forward and approaching us, and hopefully the city can be full of really great art.”