This mural is one of five commissioned by the many diverse peoples of the Bow Valley Community, as part of Canada’s 150th year celebration (September 2017). This community-driven project was designed to explore how art and shared creative action can change our communities, by igniting conversations surrounding themes of belonging, inclusion, connection and most importantly, reconciliation with our country’s first peoples. Each mural was conceived with guidance from local indigenous elders, and the boundless imagination and energy of so many kids, the future of our nation, in the form of multiple artist-led youth workshops.

As we celebrate the freedoms this country grants, we must also recognize its wrongdoings in this historic year. For healing to occur, for both settlers and Indigenous peoples, we acknowledge that this land and the people who are from it have been here much longer than 150 years. Together we can develop our collective knowledge about our country and of our First languages, our first peoples and our connection to the land. This project has planted seeds for the community, youth and Elders in hope of seeing continued acts of reconciliation within the Bow Valley.

Focusing on how public art can make positive impacts, unique opportunities were offered where the community could offer input. By striving to encourage positive, new relationships to break down barriers, we saw a sincere, respectful form of reconciliation take place, one that considered other perspectives, especially with our Indigenous neighbours. Examples of how we incorporated community engagement include:

• Two calls for Canadian Artists were release and two information sessions were open to the public. These sessions were for artists and the public to ask questions about the project and application process.
• A community chalk board was also created and on display at local events and in Canmore’s downtown core at the Civic Centre. The board allows for the public to provide input about the Canada 150 celebrations and this project.
• Once the artists were selected we hosted 5 open house workshops and 4 workshops in the schools were delivered in April and May. Information was presented about mural making and street art projects from around the world at these sessions and an opportunity for participants to provide input for the mural content was gathered and sent to the artists. Examples of the selected artists, Jason Botkin and Jarus, were provided as well as information about the five sites.
• The Meet the Artists and Artist talk was open to the public and took place on September 7 which provided an opportunity where the public could meet the artists, see their previous works and their proposed concepts for the sites. Participants could again offer input to the artists in a relaxed environment.
• In addition to creating murals, the selected artists were also required to lead youth workshops for Bow Valley students, the main focus of these workshops were to develop skills as well as offer an opportunity to get to know each other and break down barriers. In total there were 7 workshops that the Lead Artists created for youth in the classroom in addition to these information sessions.
• Unveilings took place at the end of September and offered an opportunity to celebrate the completion of the project and see the new murals.

Please stop by to see the new murals!
Canmore – artsPlace 950-8Ave ARTIST: Jarus
Banff Mural – at the Banff Community High School 330 Banff Ave ARTIST: Jason Botkin
Lake Louise – Recreation Centre 101 Village Road ARTIST: Jarus
Exshaw Community Hall – 2 Heart Mountain Drive (beside the Legion) ARTIST: Jarus
Morley Community High School – Morley Road (behind the gym, across from the Stoney Education Authority building) ARTIST: Jason Botkin