Make a mosaic tile, see it inlayed in a Vernon city sidewalk

Participants create tiles for the river mosaic project.
Image Credit: Gabrielle Strong

VERNON - You don’t have to be an artist to participate in a huge public art installation this fall in Vernon.

As part of RespectFEST 2017, a river of mosaic tiles made by the public will be inlayed into the sidewalk of a Vernon city block.

RespectFEST is a week-long celebration of respect and diversity in the North Okanagan, funded in part by the Government of Canada to celebrate Canada 150.

Local ceramic artist Gabrielle Strong came up with the idea of a river mosaic to symbolize the cycle of flowing water and our shared commitment to the environment.

“My hope is that this artwork will inspire momentum in all of us to care more and join together to respect and protect our waterways, as our need for water is the common thread that connects us all, regardless of culture, race or background,” Strong said in a media release.

Groups and individuals are invited to help create a river mosaic of tile by registering for a roughly three-hour workshop in August or September. The workshop is free and open to most ages including older children accompanied by an adult — but you must register in advance.

“With hundreds of sections to be created, volunteers, corporate and community groups, teams and clubs are invited to get involved,” states a release from RespectFEST. 

If you would like to get involved through volunteering or organizing a private group session, contact the artist at gabrielle@gabriellestrong.com.

In the weeks leading up to RespectFEST there will be workshops on the History of the First People facilitated by Mollie Bono, Okanagan-Similkameen. These workshops are designed to develop a greater understanding of local First Nations culture and history and are open to the public and interested agencies.

A number of community groups and individuals are hosting free events and activities, including Art About Town, Mural and History Respect Tours, Peek behind the Curtains of the Performing Arts Centre, RaptorFest at Allan Brooks Nature Centre, Kikinee Festival, The Caetani Chronicles, Pollinators of the Okanagan, Outdoor Art Shows, Family GypsyFest, community appreciation pancake breakfast, and more. Tickets will be required for some of the above tours and events due to limited space. 

The busiest day of the festival will be the Multicultural Celebration on Saturday Sept. 23 in Civic Plaza and Spirit Square featuring two stages and dancing, music, food, and free activities for all ages.

The North Okanagan RespectFEST is a partnership between the Government of Canada, Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan, the Allan Brooks Nature Centre and the Downtown Vernon Association and is funded in part by the Government of Canada.

For more information on RespectFEST 2017 events, click here. 


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