Young laughter rings out in the Faro Kettle coffee shop in the Recreation Centre, as the community celebrates the unveiling of a new mural that brightens the wall above the tables.
The mural uses cartoon-like solid areas of colour with black outlines and a rainbow of colours spans the sky, reminiscent of a Ted Harrison painting.
The mural has been seven months in the making. Back in March of 2012, Faro artist Jackie Irvine sat down with Recreation Manager Tina Freake. They collaborated on an application to the Youth Leadership and Activities Program of the Youth Directorate for the project. They had other murals in Faro painted in a realistic style, and wanted something different. Freake knew she wanted bright colours, and they both felt that outlines would help the design pop out. They chose a theme to engage townspeople with the project: “what does Faro mean to you?”
In early August, they hosted some brainstorming sessions with Faro residents. They also put out posters calling for ideas. Ideas came in verbally, or with a photo or drawing.
Irvine worked closely with Tina’s younger sister Tonya Freake, a fourth-year art student currently studying in Kelowna, who grew up in Faro and was working as a summer student at the Recreation Centre.
Tonya “was an invaluable resource,” says Irvine. The women sat down with the submissions, and drew the design using as many of them as possible. Tonya then applied colour to the design, and they used that colour scheme for the painting.
Irvine had already picked out the brightest colours she could get at the hardware store for the project. She and Tonya projected the drawing onto the wall and traced it.
Alana Bekk and Camille Unrau, two summer students who both grew up in Faro, also worked hard on the project. The last week of the summer students’ summer of work, Tina juggled their schedules so they could all do as much painting as possible.
Community members came and went as part of the painting process. As the week progressed, more and more townspeople added their energies to the work.
The design incorporates wall fixtures. A red fire bell adds dimension to the centre of the sun, with concentric red orange, orange, and yellow rings around it. Safely lights stud the centre of the blades of a red helicopter flying over the mountainous landscape.
Faro Peak towers over the mural’s landscape. A boater fishes in Fish Eye Lake. Cranes fly across the sky. A sheep drives a golf cart while a bear in a ball cap flies along, clinging to the cart’s back. Fireweed, a fox, and children playing on a swing set animate the foreground.
Painting was completed in one week: five days, eight hours a day.
“A mural project has its own momentum,” observes Irvine.
Irvine has undertaken three murals at the school, a context she finds easier to manage.
“You work with a certain grade level, and the teacher is there saying they have to paint.”
Doing a community mural involved all different age groups – a different kind of juggling act.
Irvine would like to see Tonya undertake more mural projects in Faro.
“We have murals all around the town. Many of them have deteriorated beyond the point of being repaired. Maybe Tonya will come back, and maybe we could do another project, the two of us. She would be really good at it.”
You can see the mural when the Recreation Centre is open, 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday, or when the centre is open for other events.