Saturday, June 30, 2012


Community News

Taking Brain Injury To The Wall

FVBIA to paint mural with a message at Prospera Centre

Staff/Voice photos


Prospera Centre CEO Glen Ringdal stands next to prototype panels which promote healthy and safe lifestyles to be painted later on the rink's south facing wall.


une is Brain Injury Month, and to help raise awareness about the significance of these types of injuries, painters and muralists from the Fraser Valley Brain Injury Association (FVBIA) will be taking their art to the wall and by mid summer the end result will be a giant mural on the south side of Prospera Centre. 

Prospera Centre CEO Glen Ringdal made the announcement Tuesday to members of the FVBIA, city hall dignitaries and local media in front of the now black wall.

"This is a very important project, and important organization in our community. Dealing with people who are suffering from acquired brain injuries that often times have come on unexpectedly and they're having to deal with the life processes that follow that injury," Ringdal said.

"Having a project like this that brings new meaning and new activity to their lives is massively important, so we're very excited that we could be a part of it. We hope many Chilliwack will come by, notice the pictures, just even in passing, and from that be able to take a little message of hope and good things in the future."

The plan is to transpose snapshots onto the wall that FVBIA members took.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Ringdal said rink owners see the project as an asset to the building.

"I went to our private owners, and to the city which is a co-owner of the building, asked them both if they would approve of this notion. They both quickly said yes, so we went ahead and starting working on it."

He said that enthusiasm grew once they knew they had a potential canvas for the mural.

Chilliwack Mayor Gaetz said the painting will underscore the importance of wearing a helmet and pointed out that nearly every single person in the mural had head covering of some sort.

"I think it sends a very strong message to us," she said. "You know we all think that we're immortal, we all think that we're impervious to any kind of injury, that somehow we'll get through it, but their artists that will paint will tell you otherwise."

"All of us have had a moment of where we're thinking 'what the heck is coming out of my mouth' and we get confused or we get muddled."

"But we all have those moments, but can you imagine living with that every single day? Where you're wondering if what's coming out of your mouth is making sense and you can't remember people that you absolutely love and you know they're part of your life," Gaetz said.

"Thank you to the FVBIA for saying yes, we want to step up and create beauty where there's black, where there's dark. Thank you for doing that. I'm so proud that you're part of the community."

FVBIA director Carol Petkau said that the project is part of their Pay-It-Forward Program which designed to promote healthy lifestyles and volunteerism in Chilliwack and that it is funded by the United Way and the Rick Hansen Foundation.

"This project is very exciting as you can see we have our prototype mural here, Safety For All Seasons, and our manager of the Chilliwack Drop-in Centre, was the wonderful brainchild of Mary McKee and Esther Tremblay, our case manager came up with this concept.

Petkau said that about 25 of those members will be participating in painting who will work under the guidance of professional photographer Stephan Baker.

Photographer Stephen Baker is one of the two artists who will be overseeing the project. This is no spur of the moment thing. A surprising amount of planning had to happen first.

"That's what happened last year in the middle of June we went out and took pictures, so there's quite a few people here involved in photos and then they were also involved. It's been a long process of putting it together, and it's their work, so that's the exciting part to do this and get their pictures up there," Baker said.

See more photos below.


Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice