By Pamela Roth
Preparations are underway to restore a well-known mural in Fairfield and add one more to the community.
The Fairfield Gonzales Community Association currently has two mural projects on large shipping containers on the go – one of them behind Sir James Douglas Elementary School at Thurlow and Moss Streets, and the other on the same grounds behind the community centre on Fairfield Road.
Led by professional artist Carolyn Knight, members of the community were invited to contribute drawings, paintings, letters and prints for the new mural at the community centre. At least a few hundred people contributed art work to the project, and the artist is now working with a graphic designer to create the final piece referencing Gerry Oak Meadows and the cycle of water, land and seasons.
“It’s all very nature based. It’ll be quite a beautiful and complex piece that tells a story,” said Fairfield Community Development Coordinator Vanya McDonnell, noting there will now be three murals in the community – the third installed at Margaret Jenkins Elementary School on Fairfield Road.
The mural at Sir James Douglas was originally painted by Caroline Stengl in 2007 and installed with the help of volunteers. The mural – painted with bold layers of colour depicting life along the ocean with views of the Olympic Mountains — has since cracked and fallen victim to graffiti. Part of it has been painted over and another artist is leading the way to restore what’s left.
McDonnell said it’s possible more murals could be added to the community if it’s something area residents want to see.
“The process has been exciting and everyone is really glad to see more public art in the space, and public art that’s really true to the character of this neighbourhood,” said McDonnell, noting both projects are being done in conjunction with the city.
“I think they really give off a sense of place. There’s a lot of pride in this neighbourhood. People live here because they really feel strongly about the neighbourhood and they love it.”