From the beginning Rob Buchanan, project lead and artist, said he envisioned how the art would look in the snow. (Rob Buchanan photo)

Creating accessible art in unusual places

Phase two of Art Alleries in the works for Revelstoke

Rob Buchanan walks down alleys instead of sidewalks.

One day he was struck by the similarity between an alley in down town Revelstoke and the Louvre in Paris, France.

So he pitched hanging art in alleys to the LUNA organizing committee.

The inspiration for Art Alleries. (Submitted)

Unfortunately, it was the first year of LUNA, and though they loved the idea, they parked it.

A few years later the success of LUNA had grown and the planning committee was discussing permanent art installations as LUNA Legacy projects. Add a funding opportunity to the mix and Art Alleries went from a vision to a reality.

Featuring contemporary landscapes in gold frames in one alley and pop art assembled from old skis across the street done by Buchanan, the pieces are lit at night with solar powered lights and have been build to withstand the elements.

“For the first year of the project, because it was a new thing and there were so many details to work out, the actual art was about five per cent of the project,” said Buchanan.

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He had a team of electricians figuring out how to light the pieces, a framer in Kelowna, a team of fabricators in Quebec, couriers, carpenters and installers.

One of the goals with the project is that the art pieces are able to withstand the elements and last ten years. This proved to be a complicated problem to address, Buchanan said. The paintings he created had to be transferred to powder coated aluminum panels, which is a highly technical process.

Another aspect of the project was environmental friendliness. The gold frames are made from saw dust and recycled bottles, the aluminum can be recycled and the skis are used.

“Not everything will be like that, but if we try to take a cradle to grave approach to the whole project, including the lights and the energy production for the lights, I think that is what we are after,” Buchanan said.

As far as they know, art being displayed in alleys is not being done anywhere else said both Buchanan and Miriam Manley, executive director of the Revelstoke Arts Council and member of the LUNA organizing committee.

They have visions of the project expanding to other places and Manley said while walking in downtown Kelowna she couldn’t help but notice the interesting alleys.

An additional aspect to the project, is crime prevention, Buchanan said. By lighting a place that is usually dark and populating a place that isn’t usually busy, the alleys are safer spaces.

READ MORE: What’s in a name? The story of Mt. Begbie

The LUNA organizers will be searching for the next artist to create Phase 2 of the project in the coming months. Now that Buchanan has forged a process that works, they are opening up the project.

Artists across the Columbia Basin are welcome to apply, however, priority will be given to artists with a Revelstoke connection.

Buchanan said this is a way to build community ownership and pride for the project as well as supporting local artists.

The application calls for art that adheres to these themes: portraiture, street, kinetic, pop art, abstract, still life, digital art or activism.

The vision for the project is to have each alley exhibit differently themed art, like how the Museum of Modern Art has separate floors for different styles and movements, Buchanan said. There will be a walking route for people to take, and a website or pamphlet describing the pieces, just like if you were at a gallery.

The official artist call out will be coming soon. For more information email the organizers at



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The art brings people into places that are usually dark and quiet. (Rob Buchanan photo)

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