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VIDEO: How public art is paying dividends to the Kamloops art community

Zach Abney (left) and Jennilee Fraser worked together to complete the latest mural in downtown Kamloops located behind Zack's Coffee.
September 11, 2018 - 3:04 PM

KAMLOOPS - The latest back alley mural painting in downtown Kamloops is something to check out.

The piece was painted by local artist Zach Abney and it’s located behind Zack’s Coffee on Victoria Street. 

Abney was contracted by the City of Kamloops along with his assistant Jennilee Fraser. The two spent roughly three weeks completing the painting.

“The city wanted a jazz-themed mural... the saxophonist is Maceo Parker,” Abney says. “I wanted something that was pretty dimensional, that sort of conveyed an emotion and feeling when (people) look at it so they could really engage with it.”

Abney owns a studio in downtown Kamloops which showcases his art and work from other artists, called Studio 322.

When he’s not painting, Abney says he’s away from town working for Canadian Pacific Railway on a steel gang.

“I get to swing a hammer 11 hours a day, so it’s nice to come back and paint,” he says, adding that Fraser helped out by filling in on the days he was away.

Fraser was hired on through the Open Door group’s job creation program and was assigned to help three artists complete their murals throughout the course of the summer.

“Zach was the last artist in the summer project, so that’s how we met,” she says.

Both Abney and Fraser say they are proud and a bit surprised by the overwhelming positive recognition they have received from the community.

“I’m from Penticton and Kamloops is sort of the last place I thought my artwork would get some legs, the amount of support that has come out of the community… people rally around the artists here it’s really fantastic,” Abney says.

Fraser agrees.

“I’ve lived here my whole life and it never used to be this artsy, it’s really nice to see the things are becoming prevalent and people are expecting more from the arts, it’s really nice to see,” Fraser says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 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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