Several art projects in the East Kootenay are receiving over $134,000 in funding from the Columbia Basin Trust.
The CBT announced a list of public art grants they are awarding to the ?akisq’nuk First Nation and ?aqam, as well as groups in Cranbrook, Fernie and Elkford.
Residents in 11 Columbia Basin communities will soon have new opportunities to interact with art created in the Basin by local artists. That’s because 13 works of public art will be installed with support of over $244,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s Public Art Grants.
“Public art has long-term impact in several significant ways,” said Aimee Ambrosone. “It can engage minds, offer learning experiences, help provide a living to local artists and create a draw that affects the economies of our communities.”
Through these grants, Basin communities can purchase original works of fixed art—from murals to sculptures—created by Basin artists and install them in well-travelled spaces accessible by all. This was the first intake of the $750,000, three-year program.
The Elkford Arts Council Society will oversee a collaborative process to install public art on a wall in the community’s main facility: the Elkford Community Conference Centre. It will be putting out a call to Basin artists for entries for artworks in any two-dimensional medium, from metalwork, to mosaics, to photography. The final piece will be unveiled during Wildcat Days in June 2019.
“Elkford is fundamentally an industrial town, and while most of us have grown up in the area or moved here for work, we believe that public art has the power to energize and enhance our public spaces, making us think and transform where we live, work and play,” said Brian Bisset, Elkford Arts Council Director. “Public art helps celebrate the qualities that make one town different from another and will often reach a demographic that would never otherwise set foot in an art gallery or museum.”
In Cranbrook, the Ktunaxa Nation Council will paint a mural on all four inside walls of its publicly used government building gymnasium and on an outside wall of its Operation Street Angel drop-in centre. Painted by ʔakisq̓nuk artist Pj Gilhuly, the gym mural will depict seasons of the year and associated Ktunaxa cultural activities and beliefs, while the Street Angel mural will show a landscape and the Ktunaxa creation story.
“These are a great way for us to creatively represent aspects of our cultural identity using art as a medium,” said Donald Sam, Director of the Traditional Knowledge and Language Sector. “Art has a way of connecting with people on different levels—everyone will be able to connect with various parts on an individual basis and collectively it will depict a story of our cultural foundations. Cultural expression through art is a progression through healing and toward reconciliation.”
Basin arts councils, local governments and First Nations are eligible to apply to the program. The grant will fund up to 80 per cent of the cost of the artwork and installation, to a maximum of $30,000. The next intake will be in spring 2019. Learn more at ourtrust.org/publicart.
This program is the latest way the Trust has addressed its arts, culture and heritage strategic priority. The Trust also offers an Arts and Culture Venue Grant and provides support to the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance to deliver the Arts and Culture Program. Learn more at ourtrust.org/artsculture.
Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.
Pictured: The Elkford Arts Council Society will add artwork to a wall in its Community Conference Centre thanks to help from a Columbia Basin Trust Public Art Grant.