February 18, 2011 Features & Images » Feature Story

Olympic Games raise profile of Whistler as cultural destination 

Continued funding key to ongoing success

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He also painted live at Lululemon and with Converse shoes at Showcase, and helped kids make contributions of their Olympic memories to the community's legacy book project.

"It was a matter of me just sort of getting onto every avenue that I had and using the network around me," he says.

One of the career highlights of the Games for Matwychuk was getting a call from CTV, asking him to paint live, on-camera. He ended up spray bombing a truck in the middle of the Village with Lauren Ritz, Darren Camplin and Malik Tour.

"So literally the next day, at 2:30 in the morning, we started painting this huge box truck in the heart of Whistler Village," he recalls. "...We basically just bombed this whole truck in front of live, national television!"

His family on the other side of the country was able to watch him at work, and the project was showcased to millions of viewers at home. And that wasn't the only high-profile event Matwychuk was involved in: he was also part of the team that helped with the snowboarding stunt during the opening ceremonies.

"We rehearsed that small moment on Whistler Blackcomb for the last like eight months before that through the Talent of Nations," Matwychuk said.

He was "creative consultant" for that portion of the opening ceremonies, working with the reputable David Atkins Group to help orchestrate the big moment: an impressive item, indeed, to add to the old CV.

Acting as a technical contractor on a high profile, professional level for a world-class event like the Games was a fantastic experience for the artist.

"It was quite a different avenue to see how creativity can be applied, and then put into action," says Matwychuk.

Those Olympic experiences may have helped Matwychuk and Homebase develop a working relationship with Brand.Live, the Vancouver-based company that organized the two-day Squamish Live festival.

"To be able to work with those big companies has really opened my eyes to what's really out there, and if you see something, you really have to reach out and grab it."

While Matwychuk clearly gained an impressive list of professional contacts and experiences from the Games, he believes that the biggest artistic legacy for the community is really the only tangible one: the new Whistler Celebration Plaza. The site, which is currently under construction and should be complete by summer, will boast a covered amphitheatre, great lawn area, and a large-scale sculpture installation from First Nations artist, Susan Point.

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