New mural at Glenwood Elementary School designed by Jillian Currie. (Special to The News)

New mural at Glenwood Elementary School designed by Jillian Currie. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge school to unveil new mural

Grizzly bear mural to be unveiled on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Glenwood Elementary School has a new grizzly bear thanks to the graduating class of 2020 and a talented artist.

A new mural located to the right of the front entrance to the school features a blue oval with a white grizzly bear – true to the school’s colours – designed by Indigenous artist Jillian Currie.

“It’s a thing of beauty,” said Anelma Brown, principal of Glenwood Elementary School.

The mural came about thanks to the Grade 7 class who graduated in 2020, she said.

The class fundraised for day camp and a day at the Cultus Lake Water Park to celebrate their graduation last year, but both trips were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So the class began brainstorming about what they could do instead with the money they raised.

They started talking about a legacy gift and trying to figure out what it could look like, explained Brow.

When the idea of a mural came up, Brown thought of her good friend Currie and they discussed the concept of an original Indigenous piece of art that could represent the school.

Currie, who is Metis, was born and raised in northern British Columbia. She currently lives as a guest on the Katzie Territory.

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Currie is behind the artistic company Ravens Vision, that offers classes and workshops in Metis jigging, beading timelines, Button Blanket creations, Metis dot art, the creation of Welcome Poles, among other art forms, with the goal of sharing Indigenous culture within the community in an interactive and inclusive environment.

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Currie actually designed the grizzly in 2018, and only gifted the design to the school this past spring.

The mural itself took a couple of months to paint because of the recent unpredictable weather conditions.

Currie explained the grizzly bear is prominent in all Indigenous cultures and the animal is seen as a symbol of wisdom and strength.

”I created this piece of art at Glenwood to remind us to protect our way of life, to fight for what is right, and to restore balance in our community,” said the artist.

“Sharing our culture creates curiosity. That curiosity creates conversation. That conversation creates knowledge. That knowledge creates understanding. That understanding creates compassion. That compassion will create change,” she noted.

The mural is going to be unveiled at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day.

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The mural came up because they had a wall that was white, open, and bare, on the outside of the school .

Then, as luck would have it, Brown is good friends with Indigenous artist Jillian Currie

She gifted them a bear, because it’s the Glenwood Grizzlies. it is a hugging bear.

“this is our wraparound, care, compassion, wisdom,”

The unveiling is to take place a 9 a.m. on June 21 for National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Our logo is usually just a bear paw.

Bec. it’s an Indigenous artist, she gifted us the piece of art her creation bec. it’s an original.

This is going to embody the Glenwood spirit.

Beautiful blue background with a white bear popping out.

To the right of the front doors at the school.

Finished a couple of weeks ago.

maple ridge