VERNON - Artist Amanda Shatzko says Vernon’s new poppy crosswalk will be ‘like walking across a field of flowers.’
Shatzko, who graduated from Vernon Secondary School, is the lead artist on a new project to paint a poppy crosswalk in Vernon to honour veterans.
Earlier this week, a majority of Vernon City Council voted in favour of the project — which follows the approval of a rainbow crosswalk back in October 2016.
“Public art is an interesting way to show the shared values of the community, and also the identity behind the community,” Shatzko says.
She points out Vernon already has a history of using public art to celebrate culture with its series of heritage murals by Michelle Loughery.
Personally, Shatzko already has some experience with public art — and poppies — in Vernon. Last year, she created large poppy sculptures at Vernon Secondary School to honour those who fought in war.
The aerial performance artist also has some experience painting on roadways, albeit in a more traditional style than what she will be doing with the poppy crosswalk.
“My father was a civil engineer. I grew up working with him. When he was doing road design, we’d string a line on the road and I’d be the one with the spray paint spraying where the crosswalks would be. The expert line painters would come in after,” she says.
She says there will likely be a variety of different sized four-petal poppies — similar to the shape you would pin on your lapel — painted across the roadway.
“My vision is it will be like you’re walking across a field of flowers,” she says.
She’s been told the project could happen as early as April, once the snow is gone and the road is cleaned.
Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund has said he’d like to see more themed crosswalks in the city in the future, and Shatzko is fully behind it.
“This makes our community very round and whole,” she says. “I hope the rainbow crosswalk and the poppy crosswalk are just the beginning of creating multiple, inclusive crosswalks. I hope we’ll be able to include all the cultures in Vernon, I think that would be a great way to celebrate each other.”
The expected location for the crosswalk is on 30 Street by Cenotaph Park.
— This story was updated at 10:15 a.m. March 10, 2017 to change the main photo.
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