White Rock mural to 'showcase community's diversity of arts'

White Rock-raised artist Richard Tetrault is to add this mural to an exterior wall of the Semiahmoo Arts building. - Contributed
White Rock-raised artist Richard Tetrault is to add this mural to an exterior wall of the Semiahmoo Arts building.
— image credit: Contributed

The building housing Semiahmoo Arts will be getting a new look, following White Rock council's approval of funding for a mural intended to showcase the group and the work of an internationally renowned city artist.

Following a presentation by director of leisure services Eric Stepura, council gave unanimous support Monday to allocating $21,500 of the city's public art budget to cover the cost of hiring Richard Tetrault.

"This is a great use of that space," said Coun. Helen Fathers.

She noted "quite a bit of money" has been sitting in the public-art budget "for a while now."

Tetrault is a master artist who was raised in White Rock. He has collaborated on a number wall-art projects, including one in Vancouver that covers a six-storey wall of the Orwell Hotel on East Hastings Street.

At a forum on decorative wall art hosted by the city last fall, Tetrault spoke of how public art can not only change the look of a wall, but can actually help revitalize an area.

Tetrault was contacted by Semiahmoo Arts officials a year ago about the prospect of a mural for the east- and south-facing exterior walls of the Centennial Park building they call home, according to Stepura.

The hope is that work on the mural can get underway in April or May and be finished in time for the organization's 40th anniversary celebrations this summer.

"The unveiling of this mural will be one of several celebrations planned throughout the year," group president Rick Muir states in a December letter to the city supporting the project.

Stepura said group members are "wanting to have a very iconic display that shows the diversity of arts in the community."

According to an outline provided by Tetrault, the planned east-wall mural portrays a sequence of culturally based images representing music, visual and performing arts, imagination and nature.

Semiahmoo Arts has committed to pay for roof-top lighting to illuminate it. As well, to work with Tetrault to co-ordinate collaborative how-to-paint-murals workshops which will involve local artists in designing and drawing art for the south-facing wall.

"This is a very unique opportunity to beautify this particular location," Stepura said.

The city's public art capital project budget currently sits at $150,000.

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