The Ashcroft HUB has received grant funding for an Expressive Arts Mural Project, and three local artists — Kathleen Kinasewich, Jo Petty, and Sharon Rennie — will be working with participants to create murals that will be displayed in the courtyard outside the former library at the HUB building.
“It’s a HUB initiative to get art for the community, and the beginning of a revamp of the whole outside of the building,” says HUB executive director Jessica Clement.
“The grant is a ‘Commemorating COVID’ grant from the federal government, so the project has to revolve around COVID. While writing the application, however, we said that we haven’t just had COVID in the past three years; we’ve had fires and floods as well, and we wanted to incorporate that into the artwork.”
Each of the three artists will be working with a group of local volunteers to create two murals: one 4’ by 4’, the other 4’ by 8’. When they are completed, the six works will be placed in the courtyard of the HUB, where an existing mural created by Petty and Ashcroft Elementary students in 2005 will be covered up (with permission from the artist).
“It will be a new look for the area, and it will be nice to freshen it up,” says Kinasewich. Last year she and two other artists — Andrea Ardiles and Lilly Krantz — completed a 3-D mural on a nearby wall of the HUB, and she is looking forward to the new project.
“It will be fun, and will be artistically and emotionally expressive of what we’ve experienced over the last three years with the pandemic and the changing climate. It’s exciting to have an opportunity to put that in art.
“And art is so therapeutic for us. Some people are still traumatized by the events of the last three years. Sometimes we can’t find the words for something, but can imagine it in a picture.”
Kinasewich, who lives in Spences Bridge, is now looking for five participants aged 15 or older from each of three communities: Lytton, Nicomen, and Spences Bridge. The first meeting will take place at the Spences Bridge Community Hall on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (snacks and beverages provided), and will be an opportunity for participants to discuss ideas and decide on a medium.
“Whatever people want to bring to the table is fine, and it can come out in artistic expression. It could be graffiti-style words, or symbols, or whatever people want to put into an art piece: their experiences, or something they would like to see. As a facilitator I enjoy bringing that collective energy and those ideas together.
“We’ll let people think about it over December, because everyone is so busy, and then they can bring their ideas in January. No artistic ability or experience is needed.”
There will be three sessions a month in January, February, and March, each one taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Spences Bridge Community Hall (lunch and beverages provided). Kinasewich says the large spread of dates is designed to cope with possible bad weather and people’s schedules.
“I think it will give a lot of opportunity for people to pop in for a few hours or a full day, even if it’s only once a month. We’re able to work with that. It’s a central location where I can keep things dry rather than drag them from place to place.”
The first session of the New Year will be on Jan. 14, when Kinasewich says the participants will be able to start creating. When the works are finished they will be installed in Ashcroft along with the murals from the other groups.
“It can be challenging to facilitate these projects,” she adds. “Healing is as big a part of the process as creating. Sometimes people can’t find the words, but artistic expression allows you that voice. I try my best to pull that creative emotional spirit out of people.”
Anyone from Spences Bridge, Nicomen, or Lytton who would like to take part in the Spences Bridge group can contact Kinasewich at (250) 458-2489 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone from the Ashcroft/Cache Creek area who is interested in taking part can contact Clement at (250) 453-9177 or via email at email@example.com.
“Our hope is to create groups out of people who want to participate,” says Clement. “The creation of the artwork is from the people, not the artists.”