By Marla O’Brien
The Community Health Services Centre (CHSC) is one of the newest additions to Kelowna’s Cultural District at the corner of Ellis and Doyle. Each day, the Centre is home to in excess of 1200 permanent and casual staff and 500 visitors coming for ambulatory care, public health or the nursing clinic.
“It’s a health centre, but it’s also more than that,” said Givonna DeBruin, an accountant with the Interior Health Authority who works at the new CHSC. “We want to add vibrancy to downtown Kelowna. And let’s face it…this is where children come for immunizations. It needs to be a fun and inviting place”
DeBruin explained how, as a publicly-funded institution, the IHA had no budget for beautification or art for the large complex, so Centre staff and members from the local arts community formed a volunteer committee to find ways to enhance the building at no cost.
“In my years working as an accountant in corporate cultures, I’ve seen the significant relationship between art and health,” she added. “This new building needs life and soul, and our committee’s mandate is to build an art collection that supports mental health for both visitors and staff.”
In the year that the committee has been working, they’ve received gifts from area artists and have formed partnerships with local schools to offer rotating displays of student works. But there are still many blank walls.
In particular, they are seeking therapeutic art – pieces that are not too dark or abstract – that have a calming affect. They are also able to offer charitable tax receipts to artists and collectors for eligible contributions to the permanent collection.
When the Central Okanagan Foundation introduced the Canada 150 Mosaic project, they recognized the opportunity to engage with the community while creating a sesquicentennial legacy for the Centre.
The project is a nation-wide initiative honouring Canada’s 150th anniversary aimed at completing 150 murals illustrating Canada’s cultural and geographical diversity in all provinces and territories. Thanks to funding support from the Central Okanagan Foundation, the committee was able to apply and was chosen as one of the sites for a mural mosaic.
576 individual 3-inch by 3-inch tiles will be painted by members of the community that will ultimately create an 8-foot by 8-foot representation of the Okanagan. The Centre is hosting free painting sessions on Thursday, Sept. 14 and Friday, Sept. 15 for anyone who wants to add their artistic stamp to the mural. All are encouraged to sign up for an hour-long session by visiting Eventbrite.ca and searching for “Kelowna Mosaic”.
Once complete, the mural will hang in the lobby of the Community Health Services Centre for all to enjoy.