There’s a new colourful alley in town.
A freshly painted alleyway has brought a pop of colour to a buzzing Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood. Located on West 1st Street between Lift breakfast bakery and Buddha-Full vegan eatery, splashes of bright red, blue, pink, green and purple adorn the walls of what used to be a less than animated corridor of North Vancouver.
A few coats of paint and an abundance of creativity have fully transformed this space. It is now the newest watering hole for Metro Vancouverites to explore and take photos in. Not only this but the alleyway is quickly becoming one of the most Instagrammable zones for community members and tourists with over 1000 new tags on Instagram!
North Vancouver’s public art program called studio in Studio in The City is responsible for the new mural installation. The program runs annually and provides local youth artists ages 15-19 with opportunities to work alongside experienced mentors who are often up-and-coming artists. This year, Studio in The City worked hand-in-hand with North Vancouver’s placemaking program called PLAY. Both initiatives encourage the creative use public space and allow young professionals, residents, and youth to connect to one another in social and vibrant outdoor settings.
The Studio in The City program allows mentors to guide groups of youth artists in their creative process. The result is the ability for young artists to showcase their talent to larger audiences from and outside of their community. Past projects include sculpture unveilings and digital installations.
For this particular project, traveling artist Lukas Kasper and local artist Victoria Sieczka supervised eight youth artists during the mural’s creation. Both mentors conceptualized the design and engaged in the approval process with the City of North Vancouver to make the project a reality. In a seven-week span, youth artists and mentors began painting by practicing on smaller side projects. This included a heritage home mural and painting a piano located outside the North Vancouver library. However, the alleyway itself was painted in just two weeks with a public opening in late September.
Eight highschool students with a range of diverse artistic experience were chosen to paint the mural. With the help of their mentors, each of the youth artists combined their unique skills, painting styles, and artistic experiences in order to create something unique and impactful for their community.
The most gratifying part of the project has been the positive responses received during and after the painting process. The attention brought on by the mural allowed each artist to experience their city in a new and exciting way. In addition to this, participating in the city’s public art program is a great opportunity to gain experience in the arts by working alongside professionals in the field.
There are plenty of new projects on the Way. The city of North Vancouver is always in search of placemaking initiatives to animate outdoor areas. This winter, it will focus on activating outdoor areas as the days get colder, damper and darker.
Prepare to see plenty of new and exciting winter light installations guaranteed to brighten up this coming February!
A special thank you to Kiana and Juliana for their contributions to this piece.
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