Visiting Kamloops

October 12, 2017

Unveiling the art of work experience downtown

Tim Petruk, Kamloops This Week -  October 11, 2017







(Photo credit to Dave Eagles/KTW)

Shane Simpson toured the alley between Seymour and Victoria streets alongside Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association head Gay Pooler and other local officials.

Simpson’s ministry gave the KCBIA more than $19,000 this year to help fund the project.


“I think one of the things we’re trying to do is look for ways to provide small amounts of support for communities,” he told KTW.

“This is a relatively small amount of money, $19,200, but because of the work of the community, they’re able to make it go pretty far.”

The mural project started in 2010 and now features 22 paintings. Pooler said the money provided by Victoria covers labour costs and supplies are paid for by business owners.

“The business owners really want to contribute to beautifying the city, and the other is the graffiti piece,” Pooler said. “They don’t mind investing in the mural because, in the long run, it’s saving money.”

Pooler said the murals have become an attraction in their own right.

“It was a graffiti reduction thing, but now it’s turned into a tourist attraction,” she said. “And a lot of people have used them for backdrops, professional photographers, album covers.”

Two artists, Ryan and Shannon, spent the summer on the work experience project — the Back Alley Art Gallery Job Creation Partnership project, where they learned about large-mural creation and other career-enhancing skills.

The murals’ locations for this year’s project are behind Kelson Place, Subway and Mittz Kitchen.

The first mural, behind Kelson Place at 301 Victoria St., celebrates the former Leland Hotel built on that spot in 1905.

The second mural, behind Subway, 316 Victoria St., is entitled The Mystic and was created to promote peace and love.

The third mural, The Jaguar, is located behind Mittz Kitchen, 227 Victoria St., and depicts an Olmec/Inca temple and draws inspiration from diverse cultures.

“The KCBIA mural program is valued on a number of levels: enhancement of public art, animating spaces that were previously avoided by pedestrian traffic, community safety and ultimately creating a destination experience for visitors in the heart of the city,” said Barb Berger, the city’s arts, culture and heritage manager.

“It has created professional employment opportunities for artists and has significantly expanded our public art infrastructure within the city. Not only is this visitor traffic positive for business in the downtown core, but the increase in pedestrian traffic has added to a sense of community safety.”


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