Victoria residents help select art projects to boost and beautify neighbourhoods in 2022

·2 min read
Artist Jesse Campbell in front of the Gorge Road mural in Victoria. Campbell will be leading the design of two street-surface murals as part of a city grant.  (Madeline Green/CBC - image credit)
Artist Jesse Campbell in front of the Gorge Road mural in Victoria. Campbell will be leading the design of two street-surface murals as part of a city grant. (Madeline Green/CBC - image credit)

Over $54,000 is being awarded to six community-led arts projects in different spots around Victoria, as an initiative to beautify the city and create stronger community identity.

The initiative was part of the City of Victoria's 2021 Participatory Budgeting initiative. It's where residents are given the opportunity to participate and decide how to invest a portion of the municipal budget.

The money was allocated to fund projects to encourage social connection and belonging in different neighbourhood spaces. A volunteer committee solicited projects and then the general public was invited to vote on six winning projects.

"I'm so proud of the volunteer steering committee — how they engaged our community first to come up with projects to improve neighbourhood spaces in Victoria and then how they organized voting, giving residents ultimate decision as to which projects were funded," said Mayor Lisa Helps in a statement.

The six projects are:

  • a Lower Yates Street mural;

  • a billboard on the Victoria Arts Council building;

  • street murals on Quadra Street near Burdett Street, and at Vancouver Street and Burdett Street;

  • pop-up performances by Theatre SKAM Association;

  • an outdoor movie night at Oaklands Park;

  • and the creation of a community hub at Dockside Green.

Each was awarded a different set of funds to complete their projects in 2022.

City of Victoria
City of Victoria

Jesse Campbell, a Michef artist with Salteaux ancestry, is leading the design of the two street-surface murals on Quadra and Vancouver streets.

The Curbside Colour project was awarded $15,750 to paint murals reflecting Indigenous imagery and history at two traffic-calming locations.

"One of the things I want to emphasize is maybe a reflection of what the street looked like prior to there being a street there. What did the land look like before the road was put in? What did the land look like before buildings came in?" Campbell said on CBC's All Points West.

The project, he says, comes at a time where mural-making has taken off.

"With COVID, a lot of events have been cancelled and, in my mind, what better way to engage with the artists than through public space and with murals where you can sort of distance but also have a lasting sort of legacy impact?" he said.

There are challenges working on a large-scale piece of art that will literally be walked upon, but Campbell says bring art to the streets is a great way to make it accessible.

"A lot of times you'll have interaction from folks who wouldn't necessarily step in a gallery, and when you're painting out on the street, anyone can walk up and enjoy a piece of art and engage with folks who are installing the work and telling the story," he said.

Campbell expects his team to start work in March.

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