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Mural approval for City Hall entrance moves ahead

A previously planned mural for the front of the municipal building — from late last year — is still moving forward after city council approved a Nelson & District Arts Council (NDAC) request to do so. — Photo illustration courtesy City of Nelson

The Covid-19 virus cannot stop art from taking place on bare City Hall walls.

A previously planned mural for the front of the municipal building — from late last year — is still moving forward after city council approved a Nelson & District Arts Council (NDAC) request to do so Monday night during its online regular monthly business meeting.

The mural — slated for the east facing far left portion of City Hall — was designed by Tyler Toews, a Nelson-based artist, with a budget set at $37,500. The funding for this mural is being provided through Columbia Basin Trust’s Public Art Grant and the City of Nelson.

The idea of the mural was approved late last year but the original design was rejected and the city asked Toews to re-work the design and re-submit.

Prior to council approval, the current mural design was circulated to the city’s Cultural Development Commission, and they recommended approval of the design.

Design concept

This design depicts Nelson as a community nestled in the heart of the beautiful

Kootenay landscape.

“The focal point of the mural is a large three-dimensional heart made of many unique, interlocking puzzle pieces,” noted a letter from NDAC. “This image symbolizing the many people and elements it takes to complete our diverse community and how well it works together.

“The heart is a strong symbol. Including this could also double as a nod to the front-line medical personal and their sacrifice during the corona pandemic.”

From Nelson & District Arts Council

If a tree falls in front of City Hall

A tree might have to sacrifice its life in order for the mural to move ahead.

A city staff report noted there was a tree “immediately adjacent to the proposed mural area that brushes against the building and that will need to be trimmed or potentially removed.”

It was also put forth that the tree would need to be trimmed regardless of whether a mural was being installed or not, “in order to be aligned with fire smart principles.”

The city’s Public Works and facilities manager are expected to have an arborist review the tree to determine the best course of action.

— Source: City of Nelson

The city’s Official Community Plan and the mural policy allow for mural applications in the Downtown Development Permit area.

Over the last two years the city has approved multiple proposed murals for city property for the annual Nelson International Mural Festival.

The city has already provided $7,500 to fund this project, while the CBT is providing the remaining $30,000. NDAC is required to carry liability insurance.

NDAC has also committed to maintaining the murals on an annual basis — the city has not committed to maintenance of the murals — or when notified of any issues with graffiti.

The artist: Tyler Toews

Tyler Toews has been creating art since he was a child, and working as a commercial artist since the year 2000.

Specializing in large-scale murals, Toews started a business called Canadian Murals in 2002. With Canadian Murals, Toews has completed close to 100 pieces for cities, municipalities, and businesses that can be seen across Canada.

In 2014 he began commissions for Cabela’s retail stores and has completed 50 murals in four Cabela’s outlets across the country. He has also been commissioned to create several murals at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Over years of painting numerous subjects in murals and executing tens of thousands of square feet of painting, Toews has refined his craft. He is currently focusing his work on a series of fine art oil paintings that explore our relationship with the natural world.

Passionate about the outdoors, his artist’s eye captures the heart and feeling of each subject painted.

Born and raised in British Columbia, Toews currently works and resides in Nelson.

— Source: Nelson & District Arts Council