Residents of, and visitors to, Ashcroft are taking notice of the striking glass mosaics that have been going up around town for the last few years. The 28th mosaic was installed on the side of the Community Futures office on Railway Avenue in early November; and now Community Futures Sun Country general manager Deb Arnott is working on a way to let more people know about the mosaics, their history, and where to find them.
Artist Marina Papais and her husband Daniel Collett are the driving force behind the mosaics; Papais is an accomplished glass mosaic artist. Arnott says that the idea for some sort of guide to the mosaics around town came out of a simple chat.
“When we were installing our mosaic I was outside chatting with Marina and Daniel, and found out that it was the 28th one in the village. And I thought we should have a guide for visitors and residents to find out where these artworks are.”
She had some funding left over from a trails project, and was looking for an opportunity to target those dollars at something.
Local photographer Kelly Tuohey has been contracted to take photos of all the mosaics, and Arnott says that research will go on over the winter.
“We want to get background information for each piece: how did it start, what was the impetus for each piece, and what the meaning behind it is.” A graphic artist will work with the photographs and text to compile a printed guide, at which time feedback will be sought. “This is an initiative of CFDC, in partnership with the community.”
Arnott hopes to have the guide available in spring 2017, and envisions it being a working document, so that more mosaics can be added as they are put in place. Ashcroft council recently approved a motion to commission a 9’ by 7’ glass mosaic with a train theme, to be placed beside the visitor centre on Railway Avenue, and has also agreed to find a place to house Papais and Collett’s ambitious Harmony Bell mosaic and installation.
The first iteration of the guide will, says Arnott, be a pilot project. “It will give us a feel for how many are needed.” All the current mosaics will be featured, and Arnott hopes eventually to have a downloadable app featuring the guide, so that people can view it on their smartphones and tablets.
She is excited about the potential of the mosaics when it comes to encouraging people to visit, and spend time in, Ashcroft. “The ultimate would be if they came and spent two or three days here.”