On Saturday May 29th, Centers64 commissioned local artist Jamie Cross to create a “Pride Wall” that would serve as a backdrop for a public photo booth so people could use and celebrate Pride Month.
Kimberley Arts Council – Centre64 Administrator Christine Besold said they hope people will go out and use the photo booth and then share their footage on social media and tag the Kimberley Arts Council.
“You don’t have to send them to us, we just want to be tagged so we can see what the reaction is to that wall of pride and what people are coming up with … people, animals, everything,” explained Besold. “When we started planning this project, we thought people could dress up their dogs, or dress up themselves, or just pose in their bladder with their friends and show their support.”
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Cross, who also painted the mural behind the Old Crow Emporium and the Burrito Grill wall, painted the graffiti-style mural on Saturday and Besold will meet with city workers on Monday who hung it on the north side of Centre64.
A lifelong artist, Cross spent the final year of school in Nelson but moved to Kimberley six years ago and before that he spent much time in the Okanagan, painting at the Penticton Art Gallery and various locations in Kelowna.
Another artist was originally booked for the job, but when he had to leave Centre64, his name was Cross, and he jumped in his car and drove home from Nelson.
“In any case, young people are now much more attuned to the media and they are more aware of civil rights issues or pride issues and I like this project because I support LGBTQ groups so it was a breeze than she asked me to to do, ”said Cross. “And it’s important that we represent our little town and say we’re here and speak loudly about these issues.”
He added that his colorful mural not only celebrates pride, but will simply be a beacon of positivity in the city after a long year of stress and uncertainty everyone had to grapple with.
“I think they hope that some colorful art with a positive message will have a positive impact on people, and that’s our thing in general,” said Cross. “We’re just trying to make colorful, beautiful works of art.
“Hopefully we’ll get out of COVID and they’ll be interested in the effects of public art and people who have been under stress and it’s been tough for everyone.”
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On June 8th, Centre64 will also open its Artrageous gallery, this year also to celebrate Pride.
“We have encouraged artists to submit anything related to the topic,” said Besold. “So this show is probably going to be very interesting too, and it’s open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 1pm to 5pm and there is no entry for people to come over and see.
“Of course we remind people to follow the COVID logs when they walk in.”
The idea for this arose in one of the meetings of the Visual Arts Committee, explained Besold.
“The Visual Arts Committee is responsible for the gallery exhibitions here at Centre64. When we sat down we said we wanted to do something for Pride and that’s perfect because Artrageous has always been Artrageous and we thought, why not celebrate Pride this year? with Artrageous. “
This can even become an annual thing. Normally the opening of Galerie Artrageous would be celebrated with a full reception but the current COVID-19 restrictions don’t allow it and so Besold is hoping they can do it again next year in the full format they normally do.
“We’re also going to be videotaping this because we’re going to be attending BC Culture Days in October and portraying the arts scene in Kimberley, and this will be one of our submissions, among many others,” added Besold.
So if you’re in the neighborhood be sure to stop by Kimberley’s newest mural and feel encouraged to snap a picture in front of it.
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