Spences Bridge artist creates public art for all to enjoy

(from l) Ava Rose Krantz, Kathleen Kinasewich, Suzanna Lee Krantx, and Lilly Krantz at the Lookout in Spences Bridge. (Photo credit: Submitted)(from l) Ava Rose Krantz, Kathleen Kinasewich, Suzanna Lee Krantx, and Lilly Krantz at the Lookout in Spences Bridge. (Photo credit: Submitted)
The new artwork at the Lookout incorporates some mandelas that Kathleen Kinasewich previously painted at the site. (Photo credit: Submitted)The new artwork at the Lookout incorporates some mandelas that Kathleen Kinasewich previously painted at the site. (Photo credit: Submitted)
(from l) Lilly Krantz, Ava Rose Krantz, and Suzanna Lee Krantz with some of the new artwork at the Spences Bridge Lookout. (Photo credit: Submitted)(from l) Lilly Krantz, Ava Rose Krantz, and Suzanna Lee Krantz with some of the new artwork at the Spences Bridge Lookout. (Photo credit: Submitted)

The Lookout in Spences Bridge now boasts some vibrant new artwork that draws on First Nations and LGBTQ colours and iconography, thanks to a local artist and some enthusiastic assistants.

Earlier this year Kathleen Kinasewich, who lives in Spences Bridge, applied for a Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation. Kinasewich had previously used funds from the Foundation to create artwork for the wall of the Spences Bridge Improvement District building and the HUB in Ashcroft, and had already done some art at the Lookout, on the west side of the Thompson River where the bridge approach used to be, and which has been developed as a community gathering place.

READ MORE: Beautiful, colourful murals bring hope to Spences Bridge and Ashcroft

Assisted by Lilly Krantz of Kumsheen and Lily’s sisters Ava Rose Krantz and Suzanna Lee Krantz, Kinasewich began preparing for the project.

“It’s a lot of work and preparation,” she says. “The project was really about bringing Indigenous youth into art in the community. We had abstract representations of different flags, like the Indigenous mental health and Canadian mental health flags, and art reflecting the transgender and LGBTQ communities, which have the interesting concept of not being in straight lines.

“I came up with the idea after working with a SOGI [Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity] project at Kumsheen School. It was about the different identities and pronouns people have, and the need to change our language, and I felt inspired by that to move forward with the project.

“People who know what the colours and symbols represent will get it.”

There is also First Nations iconography, such as a Sasquatch with green mountains behind. It was all done in a way that incorporated existing artwork that Kinasewich had created there years ago, with her mandelas surrounded by new work, and the project — which was carried out on June 30 — was timed to coincide with Ava and Suzanna’s visit to see their sister.

“It’s a natural place to put art,” says Kinasewich of the Lookout, which has become a gathering place for the community. However, she had to get permission first; a journey that encompassed the Spences Bridge Community Club, the Improvement District, the TNRD area director, and finally Paul Miller, who had given permission for Kinasewich to paint the mandelas.

“We got a ‘Yes, go ahead’ after talking to four people and finding out who was looking after it, and the Vancouver Foundation approved it right away.”

Kinasewich is currently working on a community art project at Spirit Square in Merritt. She says that she would like to do more work at the Improvement District building (“I haven’t finished that yet”), and would love to create a labyrinth in Ashcroft: “They’re good for meditation.”

She created one with painted rocks after the Wellness Festival in 2014, and located it in a then-vacant lot on Railway Avenue across from the Heritage Park, but says the rocks didn’t hold up, and weeds were a problem, hence the wish to create something more permanent.

There has been a lot of positive reaction to the new artwork from the Spences Bridge community, who were able to view the work at a Canada Day event at the Lookout on July 1.

“People love it. It’s very welcoming and colourful.” Kinasewich is quick to note, however, that Lily, Ava, and Suzanna did most of the work.

“They’re incredibly talented, very artistic, and very passionate. They got it, and embraced it, and made it into something unique.”



editorial@accjournal.ca

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