A blank wall in downtown Vernon could soon become a work of art.
Welbec Properties proposed a 220-foot-wide mural that would cover the north wall of the Service Canada building on 30th Avenue.
The mural would be painted by artists Lacey Jane and Layla Folkmann, who have collaborated professionally on large-scale public art for over a decade. Based in Vancouver and Edmonton, the artists have produced 100 murals around the world, from a 4,000 square foot farm silo in Ontario to the Rogers Place hockey arena in downtown Edmonton.
The theme of the mural is to “express reverence for the local wildlife and beauty of the region, that is also bold, vibrant, dynamic and contemporary with vivid lighting effects to signal revitalization, progress and future-forward thinking.”
Vernon council passed the mural request but is recommending a change to the artwork.
Council voted 4-3 in favour of the mural but the majority would like to see the proposed fox replaced with a coyote.
“Only the fox seems out of place,” said Coun. Teresa Durning, who motioned the suggestion, supported by fellow councillors Brian Guy and Brian Quiring, and Mayor Victor Cumming.
Guy pointed out the coyote is a “fundamental, integral part of the Syilx culture.”
Couns. Kelly Fehr, Akbal Mund and Kari Gares were opposed.
“The owner (of the building) and the artists came up with it (mural). It’s what the owner wants. We shouldn’t suggest what goes on it,” said Fehr.
The project has strong support from the Downtown Vernon Association (DVA), which would would allocate funds from the city’s Mural Maintenance Reserve to cover maintenance and upkeep for five years after the mural is installed.
A mural rendering has been completed and submitted to council. It shows apple blossoms on the left, representing Vernon’s lush apple orchards and fruit-bearing climate, and a fox on the right, chosen for “both its beauty and its cleverness as an incredibly resilient animal that can thrive throughout all the seasons of the area.”