Rutland is known for a lot of things—incredible restaurants, fun events and parks.
But now the Kelowna neighbourhood will also be known for its incredible murals and wall art, with a new event planned in August to show off the new additions.
The Uptown Rutland Business Association executive director Laurel D’Andrea is especially proud of this undertaking.
D’Andrea wanted to do something different to beautify the community, she said, beyond the planter and the banner initiatives.
She wanted to go bigger.
“We wanted to do something kind of unique to Rutland and we wanted to be first instead of last, for a change,” she said.
After being inspired by street art at business conferences and taking inspiration from cities like Montreal and Vancouver, D’Andrea knew this was something that would work well in Rutland, to show off what the community is all about.
URBA appointed artist David Doody as a project manager with a plan to complete another two to five murals in August.
Once complete—or at least nearing completion—URBA will host an event, scheduled for Aug. 23, to show off the new murals.
Along with some artists still working on-site applying the final touches to their murals, there will be street vendors, food trucks, a sidewalk sale and more.
The inaugural festival will be a pretty laid back affair, D’Andrea said, but offer a great way to connect the business community with the greater Rutland area.
“We reached out to some of the businesses and said, ‘Here’s the deal. We want to paint some of your walls, you don’t really get a say and you just have to trust us,’ ” D’Andrea said.
No corporate colours or branding will be painted, as that would be equivalent to hanging a billboard “and that will cost you $800,000,” she noted.
A countrywide artist call-out has been made and URBA aims to find artists who have roots in Rutland, D’Andrea said.
Jeremy Shantz, a Montreal-based artist, completed the first mural this spring.
He spent his youth in the Rutland area where he took his schooling. He studied classical painting and sculpting at UBC Okanagan and took film studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver before moving to Montreal.
Another artist has been hired to paint a mural is also from the Rutland area, but now she lives in the Lower Mainland.
The project is being funded through grants, URBA’s budget and the support and donations from local businesses, including the paint.
What will the murals be of? D’Andrea said URBA will connect with the community to spark inspiration for mural ideas representative of the Rutland.
D’Andrea said for her the key theme is “community.”