Spirit Centre mural unveiled
Collaborative project reflects diversity, community spirit
It’s hard not to be impressed with the mural in the Westlock Rotary Spirit Centre, which was unveiled before a crowd of more than 100 people last Friday afternoon.
The Westlock Community Art Club had been working diligently on putting the mural together for many months, and planning it for many more.
Guy Gokiert, president of the art club, described the method used as the “Lewis Lavoie” method, which uses many smaller pictures which when put together form a larger image.
“They have created stunning artwork,” he said.
He described murals as being one of the oldest forms of artwork, dating back to humans’ early ancestors painting animals on walls in caves, then progressing through the ages in Spain, Italy, Mexico and most recently, Westlock.
“It’s all due to the many artists in the community, from school-aged up to us seniors,” Gokiert said.
And the image is an appropriate one for the venue — a Westlock hockey player with a puck on the ice. The 144 eight-inch square tiles that make up the image also feature scenes appropriate to the diversity of the artists involved.
The wide range of individual images includes grain elevators, horses, cows, athletes, landscapes, the old Whissell house, Aboriginal dancers and many others.
Mayor Bruce Lennon congratulated the club on the work, noting it’s an “impressive” addition to the new Spirit Centre.
“I know when Dr. Gokiert came to town council many months ago with this idea, we thought it was a great idea,” he said. “It helps us realize this is a community facility; the art club is a very important part of this community.”
Club member Maureen Flinn, who oversaw the many artists who contributed to the piece, said it was exciting to see the final product on the wall.
“For our first one, we just didn’t know what to expect, but it’s good to have everybody involved. It really brings the community together,” she said.
Members of the club have indicated that while they have not yet made any commitment to do more, similar pieces for the Spirit Centre, they are open to the idea.
Three of the young artists involved, Josie Serson, Larissa Serson and Alysha Byer, said seeing their work on the wall was a pretty great experience.
“I feel proud and impressed,” Byer said.
“It’s really nice looking,” Josie Serson said. “It’s awesome, because everybody took part in it.”
Even some of the individual tiles ended up being collaborative efforts. Wendy Hodgson-Sadgrove, assistant director the Westlock Library, said she got the Summer Reading Club in on the project, with each kid placing a thumbprint on the tile — then even more people showed an interest.
“I thought I was just doing it for the children, but lots of the parents and adult patrons wanted to do it as well,” she said.
She added she, like everybody else, was very impressed with the final project.
“It’s just really fun,” she said. “You could look at it for ages and always see something new.”
The mural is located facing north near the child-mind area, and can be seen any time the Spirit Centre is open.
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