The idea is to cultivate a scene of mural painters from the Okanagan.
That’s the concept behind David Doody and his wife Jorden’s special topics mural painting course at UBC Okanagan.
The two instructors started the “Art in the Streets” summer project three years ago when they had students paint a Kokanee salmon mural, followed by a great heron mural both located on St. Paul Street in downtown Kelowna.
Now, they have moved the project south for this summer, taking on nine students to paint a mural on the corner of Pandosy Street and West Avenue.
The murals are based on the Okanagan, with the premise that the community will enjoy the art and it isn’t controversial.
“The main priority is the student experience of painting. We have to have a design that is very amicable to the group,” said Doody.
Doody and his wife designed the murals with the approval of the university, the City of Kelowna and the owners of the building that will host the art.
“The theme we have designed these three murals on focuses the attention on sensitive habitats, flora and fauna from the local area.”
The UBC instructor grew up in the Pandosy corridor and remembers the area as marshland before it was developed, which is why this year’s mural is a Western Painted turtle.
“The Western Painted turtle is one that is native to the Okanagan and one that the Syilx nation has been active in trying to bring awareness and support towards as the turtles are endangered,” said Doody. “I remember watching the turtles when I was growing up and they are still around here today, that you can see if you stop by the bird sanctuary or wetlands, you’re really likely to see one of these turtles.”
The Pandosy mural will take six weeks to complete with a finish date set for June 25.
As part of the course, Doody has students work through different objectives, from painting and pitching to executing.
“Their first assignment is to do their own independent research on the murals, and the second assignment is to walk around their neighbourhood to photograph any wall that could have a mural… and then they have to submit different steps that will give them a set of skills where they feel confident in developing and pushing or pitching their own murals in the valley,” said Doody.
So far the seasoned mural artists have brought 19 murals to life, while also emphasizing the importance of art in public spaces.
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