Vernon council to spend $33,000 on scary public art | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon council to spend $33,000 on scary public art

Image Credit: SUBMITTED: Vernon Public Art Gallery

Vernon council will spend $33,000 on public murals around the city that may scare children.

The mural project is an extension of an exhibit currently taking place at the Vernon Public Art Gallery called Behind the Mask.

The art project involved workshops where participants made paper mache masks and were then photographed wearing the masks at different places in downtown Vernon.

These photos are set to be enlarged and placed at various locations in downtown Vernon.

However, they may be too scary for children.

"A number of people have indicated that these will scare kids," councillor Scott Anderson told council's May 30 meeting.

Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director Dauna Kennedy didn't agree.

"That's not the feedback we have received," Kennedy replied.

However, councillor Brian Quiring said the artist's website had "freaked" him out.

"I did read some of the comments (on the artist's website) and some of the comments were that some of the art scared kids," Quiring said.

He wasn't keen on the project originally but now fully supported it. When he saw the art that was being proposed he liked it.

"It's impacting people, changing lives, I think we're ready for it, I think this community is ready for it," Quiring said.

Image Credit: SUBMITTED: City of Vernon

The art project is produced by Calgary-based artist Katie Green who worked alongside the harm reduction staff at the Turning Points Collaborative Society and the participants.

Councillor Teresa Durning didn't have any reservations about the artwork, telling the meeting she "really loved the project."

Councillor Kelly Fehr followed suit saying he really like the project, although admitted he had no idea if his taste in art was good or not.

Councillor Akbal Mund referred to the art as "pretty neutral."

The artworks are scheduled for various sites around Vernon including the downtown parkade, the downtown washroom, and the washroom building in Civic Memorial Park, among others. The art will be up for a minimum of five years, and other commercial buildings may also take part.

Coun. Anderson questioned whether any public consultation had taken place regarding the murals, and asked who was on the hook if, and when, the murals were vandalized.

Ultimately, council passed spending $33,000 on the murals unanimously.

"Public art tries to accomplish... economic development, cultural development, and community development," Kennedy said. "This project touches all three of those."

Image Credit: SUBMITTED: Vernon Public Art Gallery

Image Credit: SUBMITTED: City of Vernon

Image Credit: SUBMITTED: Vernon Public Art Gallery

— This story was updated at 3:56 p.m. Thursday, June 2, 2022, to include higher resolution photos of the public art.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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