Client: Bow Valley Mural Project
Location: Canmore Exshaw Banff Lake Louise Morley, AB, Canada
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $56,000
Public Art Agent
Dawn Saunders Dahl
Edmonton Arts Council
In September of 2017, as part of Canada’s 150th year celebration, murals were installed in Canmore, Banff, Exshaw, Lake Louise and Morley, Alberta. This community-driven project was designed to explore how art and shared creative action can change our communities, by igniting conversations surrounding themes of belonging, inclusion, connection and most importantly, reconciliation with our country’s First Peoples. Each mural was conceived with guidance from local Indigenous Elders, community members and the boundless imagination and energy of many youth, the future of our nation, in the form of multiple artist-led youth workshops with Lead Artists Jason Botkin and Jarus.
Our most important goals saw the project foster positive relationships between Indigenous peoples, participants, staff, teachers, youth and artists to, in our hopes, lead to better relationships with the broader community, by actively reshaping participants toward a meaningful reconciliation with Canada’s First Peoples.Through the consultation with local Indigenous Elders and youth, combining the multiple workshops that explored themes of belonging, inclusion, connection and reconciliation with our country’s First Peoples, the ability to connect the Bow Valley through art within all 5 communities was a positive experience for participants, staff and the artists.
Through workshops, collaborative learning took place between the youth, Elders, community members and the artists, creating a stronger environment and re-establishing the cultural landscape of this community that is interested in growing.. Most importantly, these connections include:
• Connection to the Bow Valley communities through workshops and celebrations that fostered new relationships between community members and youth from Stoney Nakoda and youth in Canmore and Banff;
• Inspired participants with new ways of art-making and learning; exploring shared creativity and the power of provocative public art;
• Empowered participants, artists and the Indigenous community by working collaboratively in the public arena in order to change public discourse on critical issues and promote transformational social change;
• Collaborative learning between the community members, the artists and participants by creating a stronger environment and re-establishing the cultural landscape of the community that is interested in growing.
Based on the massive success of the Bow Valley Mural project and with a tremendous desire to continue the conversation surrounding issues of reconciliation, Project Lead, Dawn Saunders Dahl and Lead Artist Jason Botkin would like to continue these community discussions with the development of an artist in residence/ public art program in Morley. Continued conversations will amplify the discourse, straddling art-making workshops and mural making, to continue throughout the Bow Valley with our Indigenous neighbors. Thank you to Canadian Heritage Canada 150, Banff Canmore Community Foundation, Town of Canmore and the Alberta College of Art and Design.