Client: Jasper Place Curling Club
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $20,000
Jasper Place Curling Club
Jill van Stanton
Welcoming. Bold. Fun: that’s Edmonton’s newest curling mural – integrating fully the curling club into the surrounding community. Designed and painted in 2021, Jasper Place Curling Club’s (JPCC) eye-popping mural fills a 60 plus year-old prairie stucco 160’ x 14’ wall – and, for fun, rounds the corner another 20’ to greet all who visit the club.
The mural depicts curling imagery including curling rocks, brooms and “houses,” amidst symbols of the adjacent neighbourhoods such as fences, steps, flora and fauna. The massive scale of many objects engages viewers from vantage points well away the curling club parking lot; once a viewer is closer to the mural, smaller details such as a cat sitting in a window emerge. The modern interpretation of a retro colour palette evokes 1950s nostalgia, referencing the 1958 founding of the curling club and the history of the adjacent neighbourhoods.
One JPCC goal is to enhance and engage membership, maintain a welcoming environment and increase community engagement. Supporting this goal, a marketing objective is to strengthen the club’s profile as a good west Edmonton neighbour. As the mural artist stated, “The JP curling crew wanted a mural that featured their favourite sport (of course!) and would also fit into the community. I designed this piece that combines iconic images from curling with visual characteristics of the neighbourhood.”
The curling club was built in 1958. The largest wall of blank brown stucco faced curlers visiting the club and motorists driving along the busy street adjacent to this unappealing wall.
When the mural was being painted, neighbours, motorists and curlers stopped often to voice their pleasure and excitement with the thrilling artwork. To officially unveil the completed mural, the club held a “Rock the Block” parking lot party where guests were invited to take selfies in front of the mural, meet the artist and enjoy free snacks. The parking lot was filled with families, friends and neighbours who were delighted to see pieces of their community depicted alongside curling apparatus.
The mural project proved a turning point in the club’s relationship with its surrounding communities.
When the club GM brought the mural project to the Board for discussion and approval, it was made clear that the mural must be positioned as a public art enhancement for the broader community.
The artist was advised the mural had to represent both curling and the surrounding communities. She researched the overall history of west Edmonton where the club is located and, in particular, the neighbourhoods in proximity to the club. She then walked the neighbourhoods to get a sense of the club’s neighbours and how to best represent these older, modest homes with their working-class families.
It was clear from the beginning that mural artist Jill van Stanton understood the JPCC Board of Directors’ vision to fully integrate elements of curling and the community to show all how grateful we were to share both.
To keep the adjacent communities and all of Edmonton updated about the project, the club used social media as well as formally inviting traditional media reps to view progress. Media coverage, from local to international, was terrific. Our thrilling project with its graphic, punchy, colourful and fun elements caught Edmontonians’ imagination at the height of COVID-19 in Alberta.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been horrific. Yet, it was possible for good, imaginative, lasting projects such as the JPCC wall mural to emerge at the same time. In fact, the pandemic helped turn this vision into reality. COVID-19 interrupted the livelihoods of many people, including artists. Because of COVID, Jill had a big enough window in her work calendar, in the short Edmonton painting season, and the curling club moved quickly to book her. It’s particularly satisfying for JPCC to know Jill enjoyed working on our highlight project as much as we enjoyed having her create it. As Jill explained on Instagram, “Older stucco is a classic prairie building material and is also my favourite kind of wall to paint. I used its unique surface to incorporate all kinds of fun textures and shading techniques (turns out I LOVE painting curling rocks). I also got to nerd out with barely noticeably different shades and temperatures of grey (another favourite thing of mine). The folks at JP Curling Club were so lovely to work with, and I appreciate all the trust they gave me with wrapping their home!” The JPCC Board of Directors and GM Cathy Craig see this spectacular wall mural as a defining feature of our club for many years to come.