Two people have spent the summer on a work experience project that is transforming Kamloops’ back alleys into safe, usable spaces that have become a popular destination for walking, sightseeing and photography.
The Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association (KCBIA) received more than $19,000 in government funding for its Back Alley Art Gallery Job Creation Partnership project, where the two participants are learning about large-mural creation and other career-enhancing skills.
Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, toured some of the murals today, and met Ryan and Shannon, the two participants. Simpson even tried his hand at some brushwork, under the guidance of the project lead.
The participants are gaining work experience in urban design and painting techniques as they work on the murals, scheduled for completion by Oct. 20. The murals’ locations for this year’s project are behind Kelson Place, Subway and Mittz Kitchen.
The first mural, behind Kelson Place at 301 Victoria St., celebrates the former Leland Hotel built on that spot in 1905. The second mural, behind Subway, 316 Victoria St., is entitled “The Mystic” and was created to promote peace and love. The third mural, “The Jaguar,” located behind Mittz Kitchen, 227 Victoria St., depicts an Olmec/Inca temple and draws inspiration from diverse cultures.
Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction funding is provided through the Job Creation Partnerships stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program, which funds projects that increase employability levels and share labour market information.
The Community and Employer Partnerships program provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need.
To date, the program has helped almost 1,675 job seekers benefit from work experience and funded close to 300 projects throughout the province.
Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction –
“The diversity and history of our province continues to be reflected in the murals created in this project. Everyone benefits from this project, the project participants who gain work experience, the City of Kamloops, as well as residents and tourists who get to enjoy art in Kamloops’ public spaces.”
Barb Berger, City of Kamloops Arts, Culture and Heritage manager –
“The KCBIA mural program is valued on a number of levels: enhancement of public art, animating spaces that were previously avoided by pedestrian traffic, community safety and ultimately creating a destination experience for visitors in the heart of the city. It has created professional employment opportunities for artists and has significantly expanded our public art infrastructure within the city. Not only is this visitor traffic positive for business in the downtown core, but the increase in pedestrian traffic has added to a sense of community safety.”
Gay Pooler, Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association –
“We embarked upon the Alley Art Gallery project to make our back alleys part of our walkable, livable public spaces in Downtown Kamloops – instead of avoiding the alleys people would go there on purpose! Our initial instincts that the murals would become a tourist attraction have proven to be true. We have seen an increase in pedestrian traffic in the back alleys with people touring the murals and stopping to take photos with the works. We are thrilled to be able to contribute to the Kamloops arts and culture landscape and will continue to do so.”
Ryan S. and Shannon G., project participants –
“We worked well together as a team in a fast-paced, positive and fun environment. We enjoyed the social engagement with city folk, and it’s great exercise! We learned many painting techniques and tricks from talented lead artists.”
- The three new murals bring the total murals in downtown Kamloops to 26.
- Murals can be found on the alleys behind Lansdowne, Victoria and Seymour streets.
- The mural program started as a deterrent to graffiti in 2010.
For more information on the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association: www.downtownkamloops.com
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdpr
Link to photo: https://flic.kr/p/ZgMFCU