Feature Story Monday June 13, 2016
Community gets behind Wall project and its symbolic art
Sherry Dunn, Abbotsford
Caring people will be showing their love for those less fortunate in other countries in a trek on June 18.
was a monsoon a few times during the day but on Friday, May 27th, 2016 a
small, dedicated group of volunteers braved the elements to help add the
"ads" in the form of green QR code vinyl stickers to the "Our Wall" mural
public art project which showcase the different aspects of the celebratory
and memorial sections with the many of the digital connections that exist in
the currently painted wall and the designs soon to come.
Cheryl's mom, Cathy McCormack will invite her daughter's friends and family to write a dedication in Cheryl's memory on the back of the large "Our Wall" art poster and the family has plans to hang it in the cabin where Cheryl vacationed with her family. The deer featured in the memorial is symbolic of the island vacations that the family took.
The family noted the small island deer frequently and we like the "dear" connections with picking a deer as a symbol for Cheryl, because she was "dear" to many people. The affection and love expressed by the family, friends, the school staff and students who came together and celebrated Cheryl's life lost too soon with a scholarship in her memory also cooperated in creating a beautiful part in a neighborhood improvement plan.
The waterfall above the deer in
the mural symbolizes Cheryl's attendance at a school famous for
it's indoor waterfall and a second deer is seen enjoying the
morning glory that grows by the wall. This deer was observed at
the wall soon after the family chose this symbol for Cheryl and
incorporating this photograph of a deer visiting the wall into
the painting seemed to make sense in the design for Cheryl; two
deer = too dear.
There is also an Abbotsford Arts Council Artie award in Christine's name as well. Chelsea Caldwell is a graphic artist from the Chilliwack Progress who is currently re-designing a section of "Our Wall" to include Mikayla Gravelle's recent national winning art entry along with Marisa Baldini's memorial (designed by Amanda Merriman) and Christine's memorial. Sage Bullock's photo of a butterfly and Nichele Martin's painting of a ladybug will also flow together with these designs.
Christine's family has chosen a
dragonfly in a flower garden to symbolize her. The dragonfly is
an auspicious insect which is already showcased in the center of
the "Our Wall" mural in the reproduction of Sora Yoon's national
winning entry in the Get to Know Your Wild Neighbours art
calendar contest. Look forward to sharing Chelsea's re-design
with everyone soon. Hope many people will consider assisting in
the cutting of the large (one meter by one meter) plastic
stencils that are made to create (and re-create) the mural and
would encourage everyone to also consider participating in the
next "Paint Day" for this community public art project. Anyone
who is interested in participating in community art evenings or
future paint days, please email
It was really appreciated that she represented the school district. She helped greatly with warm drinks to take the chill off the morning. Diane assisted with the work with the QR code unveiling too. Cheryl's mom, Cathy, also supplied the crew with coffee and sweets after the job of cleaning the wall and placing the QR posters was finished for the day.
Sue was the person behind the scenes organizing all the permissions and plans in order that the road space was available for the organization of the mural's QR codes. She is a wonderful facilitator for many neighbourhood projects. Sue along with Navi Khatar, another Community Developer for the city, helped Sherry Dunn, Jo Houghton, Tamara O'Brien, Yolanda Schella, Jeanne Lachance, Colin van der Ploeg, the Bateman Community Association and the Art Club students over two years (Mila, Keira, Eliza, Alexis, Iesha, Ally, Ashton, Bronwen, Seb, Nick, Hayley, Dalton, Michelle, Sabrina, Leah, Kaitlln, Corina, James, Scott, Oceana, Kathryn, Morgan, Aneasha, Mikayla, and Mikaela) working on the stencils and preparing for "Paint Day".
Benjamin Moore very generously supplied the paint for the mural, some of which was recently given to a lovely family who have adopted a watchful eye over the work of public art. They have been taking care of the retaining wall's green mural over the last three-years.
One of the young girls in the family is like a guardian angel for the "Our Wall" mural project. Olivia has taken it upon herself to re-paint the mural green again whenever graffiti appears. Her father, Jason, is part of a Citizen's Patrol and he spoke to the project facilitator after the QR unveiling about what Olivia had been doing to take care of the art project by covering over the illicit and unwanted additions to "Our Wall". Since the mural has appeared the vandalism has abated on the large three meter tall section but graffiti continues in the empty green areas with no design yet added.
With the additions of the QR codes and the completion of both "wings" it is hoped that the unsanctioned additions to the mural will cease in these areas as well. Street artists are more respectful towards the work of other artists and it is also hoped that vandals will be respectful of the memorial dedications and celebrations of student art as well. "Our Wall" has saved the city a large expenditure in time and materials and improved the area's aesthetics hugely. Olivia's family's generosity and Olivia's voluntary actions to the "Our Wall" maintenance has spared tax payers the expense of the city having to hire workers to deal with the vandalism in the area.
The City of Abbotsford painted the
initial green base for the "Our Wall" project with the donated
paint and improved the site greatly with the addition of native
plant species, river rock and ground cover below the mural and a
walkway and split rail fence above the mural. The city continues
to support the project and the public art has likely saved the
public coffers close to $15,000.00 in labour and supplies when
the retaining wall is not needing to be almost constantly
re-painted. It was being tagged with great frequency before it
became "Our Wall". The rate and scale of the graffiti has been
greatly diminished on the retaining wall since 2013 when the
mural was added.
Animal totems will represent the
different people in the memorial sections: Marisa Baldini
(hummingbird & daffodil), Christine Caldwell (dragonfly and
wildflower garden), Tony Anning (bulldog), Cheryl McCormack
(deer and waterfall), Dallas Saunders (wolf pup running on
winter ice), Sean Phillips (osprey), James Fisher (eagle) and
Dustin Lansdown (man and nature). These people are all local
loved ones to be symbolized in the mural with strong connections
to the Bateman community.
Two of the current QR codes on "Our Wall" are temporary as well.
They showcase an upcoming current event for the Fraser Valley community, that we'd like to see people in Abbotsford, Fort Langley, Chilliwack, Mission, Harrison and Agassiz get involved with: the BC Summer Games. The games start July 21st and are finished by July 24th. BC Summer Game brochures were distributed after the QR code unveiling was finished the following day at a regatta that had much more precipitation than Friday's event.
The games needs many more
volunteers than the wall and occurs much sooner than the
events we are planning for "Our Wall" so we would like to
encourage people to get involved in another amazing and fun
volunteer opportunity that contributes to the spirit of
community in the valley and consider involving themselves in the
local art project after the provincial event is finished in late
We'd also like to encourage members of community to donate funds to any number of scholarships and bursaries for students, but would like to particularly recognize the Kevin Lloyd Memorial Scholarship at this time as we lost a great teacher, friend and colleague to a battle with cancer recently and friends, family, staff and students have established an A.C.F. scholarship in his memory this year.
"Our wall" has a website for Phase
thanks to the generosity of Bill Henderson of
Studios for hosting the community wall project's on-line
presence and offering technical advice to the project webmaster.
The volunteers involved were too
numerous to mention but Mary Krupa-Clark, Carman and Dawn
MacKay, Ray Silver, Cori Soles and Aird Flavelle
were some of the feature artists and celebrity participants
supporting "Paint Day".
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