(from l) Gold Country Communities Society Board chair Steve Rice; Central Café owner Ogesh Chand; GCCS executive director Marcie Down; and artist Royden Josephson in front of “Surfacing”, part of the Art Route Blue project. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Gold Country’s Art Route Blue project unveils new Ashcroft artwork

Project aims to connect communities and bring people together

New art installations are continually blossoming around Ashcroft, and on Sept. 4 the newest piece of community artwork was unveiled.

“Surfacing”, by longtime Ashcroft resident and artist Royden Josephson, is now on display on the north side of the Central Café building on Railway Avenue, and is one component of Gold Country Community Society’s (GCCS) Art Route Blue, described by GCCS executive director Marcie Down as an alliance of many people, businesses, organizations, and artists supporting a creative recovery.

“When faced with adversity or a crisis there are those who react and then there are those who respond,” Down said in a statement. “During a time when schools, businesses, facilities, and events were closing and many had to begin working from home, a call-out was placed for artists to come together digitally to work cohesively on a project to connect the communities in a safe and welcoming manner.

“This is a collaborative movement that is timely in bringing people together in a creative and inclusive path.”

Down added that many pieces of public art will be appearing in Gold Country communities as part of the Art Route Blue initiative. “We are proud to install one of these works with Royden Josephson’s piece. We are so pleased that the first business, the Grand Central Café in Ashcroft, jumped in to create a home for one of the pieces in the route. We hope to fill our area with more local and regional artwork that will be throughout Gold Country, the Thompson-Okanagan, and the Shuswap.”

Josephson says that he became involved with the project in March. “I was helping [artist] Jo Petty with two pieces of plywood and asked her what she was doing with these. She told me about Art Route Blue.” He found out more about the project, and says that one of two stipulations was the size: eight feet by eight feet. He usually paints on stretched canvas, but says that “Surfacing” is on four by four unstretched canvases.

The other stipulation was the colour: blue. “I started with a yellow underpaint, and should have known, as an art teacher, that yellow plus blue equals green,” he says with a laugh. “I kept adding things. It’s about painting over until you find something you can live with.”

He painted in acrylic on canvas that has been glued to two plywood pieces. A varathane coating has been added for protection, but Josephson says that because of its location the colours will not fade.

The piece was started in March and finished in July, but he notes that he did not work steadily on the piece. “In the COVID-19 lockdown, time is all we have, so I didn’t need to hurry.”

Down invites everyone to take part in the Art Route Blue journey, which will showcase artists, businesses, and communities along the route. For more information on adopting or sponsoring a work of art, and this creative social economic endeavour, contact Down at goldcountry@telus.net or call (250) 457-6606. For more information about Josephson and his work, go to https://www.rdjosephson.com.


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