What if a building became an artwork of placemaking, one that brightly consecrates the variety and history of a community? That was the question I heard when the Oliver Community League hired me to paint a mural on a small building housing public washrooms and a community room located in Kitchener Park, near downtown Edmonton. My clients wanted the public to know about the unique charm, heritage, and quality of life that personifies the neighbourhood of Oliver's past, present, and future.
The resulting mural, Oliver; Past and Present, celebrates the neighbourhood of Oliver’s key qualities in a popular park, amidst playgrounds, green spaces, and a spray park. Painted on a public building in Kitchener Park, the mural uses the building’s walls, inset doors, window covers, and roof overhang to wrap 2D perspective around the 3D space, enticing viewers to explore all the way around. The mural weaves in and out of time periods; from the first train travelling over the High Level Bridge in 1913 to the Oliver Pool in the 1920's and present day; from Jasper Ave at the turn of the 19th century to 122 Street in the 1950's to the modern Oliver river valley skyline. Utilizing an entire building, the mural doesn't have a starting point or an ending, as most of my artworks on a single surface do.
Placemaking is a collaboration of community based efforts to deepen the relationship between people and places. By using a location's physical attributes, cultural meaning, and social potential, placemaking creates intimate connections and meaning between the public and a space. When an entire building becomes a colourful mural asking viewers to investigate every corner, it becomes a great example of placemaking with an everyday space re-imagined into a community's collective vision.
Report an Error Share via Email Print By:Patrick NguyenFor Metro Edmonton Published on The community of Oliver is looking just a little bit brighter after a brand new mural was unveiled earlier this month.
The 100-foot project, which wraps around a small building in Kitchener Park, was commissioned in conjunction with playground developments to add to the community's vitality.
“I wanted it to have kids’ colours but have an adult scene.” The mural, which took a year and a half from planning to unveiling, depicts a variety of buildings and streets from Oliver’s past as well as its modern landscape.
“The idea is that someone who really knows the area and its history should be able to pick out actual buildings as they were,” said Friesen, though he acknowledges that he added a little artist’s interpretation to the scenes.
Do you have any favourite neighbourhoods in your town? The ones that you dream of living in because they are absolutely picture perfect? I do! There’s there’s this one neighbourhood I often like to bike or walk thru on a bright summer day. I enjoy imagining a home there. This sweet pink one with the little dormers would suit me just fine. I actually think it might be my favourite.
I am available for freelance. Can't wait for the next exciting project! Could be yours?