'A splash of colour': Mural project hopes to showcase vibrant Regina community
An extra bit of colour and flair has been popping up around the Queen City lately, thanks to a community-led initiative called the Audacity Mural Project, which has a goal of commissioning 25 murals across the city by 2025.
The project stems from Audacity YQR, a community that supports individuals and organizations in their quest to display their talents. Ascent Strategy, along with the City of Regina and Economic Development Regina, collaborated with Audacity YQR to bring the mural project to life.
Jeff Boutilier, president of Ascent Strategy, said they also plan to activate the city with temporary art installations and hope to get other businesses involved.
“[We’re] really just trying to beautify the city and really sort of help capture that audacious spirit that exists in Regina that sometimes we’re a little bit too humble about,” he said.
The project kicked off in the spring and phase one is complete, with previous works having been done with vinyl.
“We actually now in Regina have the largest permanent billboard west of Toronto that went up as part of this thing which is kinda cool. It’s 80 by 20 feet over by the stadium so we’re pretty excited about that,” Boutilier said.
He said now that nicer weather is here, they are shifting gears and focusing on their permanent installations, including painted murals.
Moose Jaw artist Carly Jaye Smith is currently working on the first painted mural as part of the project, which is located at the original Leopold’s Tavern on Albert Street.
She said while the organization gave her an idea of what they wanted to see, she created the concept of the mural herself.
“They’re hoping that this is kind of like an example of what we’re trying to do and then more people want to get involved and it grows from there so I hope this is the beginning,” she said.
Smith has more than seven years of experience and she said the feedback she has received as an artist has been overwhelming.
“The amount of people that can relate to a splash of colour on the wall or have it brighten their day just for a couple minutes. It’s the small things in life that matter and I think that kind of plays into that,” she said.
One mural in her portfolio that she holds as the highest honour is in Regina’s Central Park, commemorating local baseball player, Mary Bonnie Baker.
“I grew up playing baseball. So to be a part of that project, recognizing the woman that broke the ground for females in sports, especially as a Canadian, it’s pretty cool to have that history here in Regina. To be able to paint the picture behind that is also something I hold close to heart,” she said.
She said she plans to contribute to more murals in Regina.
“I think it just makes a huge impact in the overall community, it brightens it up,” she said.
Boutilier said he hopes the project has a positive impact in the city.
“I think sometimes you just have to do cool things because they’re the right thing to do and you’ve gotta trust the universe that they’re going to have the right kind of impact,” he said. “I think sometimes in Regina, we have a little bit of difficulty seeing ourselves the way maybe others see us.”
He said he hopes the murals will be a permanent fixture in Regina.
“One of the really cool things about our city is if you go down to the warehouse district for instance, you’ll see these things we call ghost murals now, murals on the side of a business that existed 75 or 100 years ago, and we can still sort of see their outlines a little bit. It would be great if some of these murals that we’re putting up now, 100 years from now, were still there,” he said.
He said they also want to find artists and businesses to collaborate on the project.
“We’re inviting artists to submit their ideas, their concepts, and we’re going to work to sort of find the best concepts for the right locations,” he said. “We want to celebrate different aspects of our city and our culture and that audacious spirit that sort of has always been around in Regina.”
More information on the Audacity Mural Project can be found here.