By Steve Hubrecht
[email protected]

The Columbia Valley Youth Network, the local Rotary Interact Club and Black Star Studios are teaming up to bring a splash of new colour to downtown Invermere, starting this weekend.

The groups are working together to create a new community art mural on the concrete wall just below the Canterbury Inn, across 12 Street from the Invermere post office.

Interact Club treasurer secretary and Youth Network member Clare Hatalcik presented the project during the most recent Invermere council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14, outlining that the new mural would incorporate aspects of the old mural and will be a “colourful landscape of the valley.”

Plans for a revamped mural have been afoot since last spring, but the project only really took off in the past few weeks, explained Hatalcik.

The groups involved put out a call for design ideas. Two submissions came in — a colour pencil sketch from local youth artist Kate Hale and a digital drawing from local youth artist Neina Flight. Project organizers decided to combine the two into a single concept, a black and white drawing of which Hatalcik showed council members. The final concept also includes several new elements, including one meant to represent local LGBTQ2S+ youth and another meant to represent Indigenous youth.

Prep work on the old mural wall occurred on Monday, Sept. 20. The actual painting of the mural was, as of Pioneer press time, set to take place in hour one shift on Saturday, Sept. 25 from noon to 4 p.m., on Monday, Sept. 27 through Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and on Thursday, Sept. 30, from noon to 4 p.m. Hatalcik explained the youth would follow COVID-19 protocols and remain spaced apart.

Invermere council members received the presentation positively, with councillor Gerry Taft saying “I think it’s great.”

Youth Network coordinator Ang Miller had been in contact with Stan Perry, the artist who created the old mural, telling the Pioneer that Perry had said he was honoured that the revamp is being done and would incorporate parts of his old mural.

“I’m a strong believer in community, and local youth have been cooped up during the pandemic. For us to work together on a big project like this will be good for us, and good for the community,” Hatalcik told the Pioneer, adding she feels it’s “surreal” that the project has proceeded as smoothly and as rapidly as it has, and that she is “excited to work with all the great groups involved in the project.”

“It’s going to be a great project to work on it. It will hopefully bring a colourful, cheerful feeling to anybody walking by that part of downtown, and will be something local youth can be proud of,” added Miller.

Any youth in Grade 6 or older who wish to help paint the mural are welcome to get in touch with Miller to sign up. A maximum of 10 people can sign up for each of the one-hour time slots. To contact Miller, call 250-341-5216 or email [email protected].