Art in unexpected places 

The walk along the Valley Trail is going to get a bit more breathtaking in the coming months, thanks to a new mural project on the horizon.

Last year, local artists Chili Thom, Stan Matwychuk and Devin White were commissioned to create a vibrant mural beneath the Terry Rogers Bridge on Lorimer Road, and municipal officials were so pleased with the finished product that they’ve decided to spruce up the underbelly of yet another bridge in town.

Now, the Resort Municipality of Whistler is looking for artists to complete their second underpass mural project, beneath the Blackcomb Way bridge.

“Those kind of spaces are so ill considered that they often get tagged by people, too,” said Kevin McFarland, parks planner for the RMOW. “They’re almost like blank canvases.”

Aside from beautifying a public space, the murals are also intended to discourage vandalism. When artists paint public spaces, other graffiti artists tend to respect the work and leave it untouched. Since the Lorimer Bridge underpass was painted, McFarland said he has noticed only one small tag.

The next bridge mural should be completed during the off-season, from later this month to late November, or April to June.

“Basically, we put it out there to artists or artists teams — it’s very open and un-themed. We specified that it is a bit different in that there is this sloped area, but there’s a lower wall and then the actual upper wall, so it is a bit different in terms of the form of the space,” McFarland added.


Progress on public art projects


The second installment of the Village Square sculpture series is running a bit behind schedule.

“We took a long time in the selection because we had a short list and the jury had some questions, so we had to go through an extended process,” explained Kevin McFarland, parks planner for the RMOW.

Mike Tyler’s piece, which features a tactile cold-cast bronze mother bear with cubs, may not make it into Village Square before the spring, because come November, the area needs to be cleared regularly of snow. Instead, the sculpture may be installed elsewhere in the village, or it may be held until after winter, depending on the completion date.

Meanwhile, the Ted Nebbeling Bridge, over Village Gate Boulevard, will have another artistic component added by November. The rectangular granite-clad bridgeheads will be capped with carved basalt columns, created by local artist, Patrick Sullivan.

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