That is the theme of a new mural that graces a wall in the cafeteria at Garibaldi Secondary.
The art piece – about 24 metres long and four metres high – depicts the four seasons, and incorporates the Golden Ears Mountains, a grizzly bear, a body of water, and the forest. And, within some of the elements of the artwork, like within the image of the grizzly bear and a tree, words like love, caring, and respect fill the frame – words the team felt represented the theme.
It was born from the will of chef instructor Brent Mcgimpsey, when he took over the school’s teaching kitchen from Chef Daniel Lesnes two years, he was adamant that the walls needed some colour.
“It was very dated,” Mcgimpsey said. “Just beige walls everywhere.”
In the cafeteria, which seats about 300 students, the walls were dull and hadn’t been painted for at least 20 years, said Mcgimpsey. One of the walls, in particular, was begging to have a mural put on it, he said.
So, he got a group together, made up of students, teachers, educational assistants, and those in administration, to brainstorm ideas about the theme for the mural and what elements could go into one.
It took them an entire year to come up with the theme and renderings of what the mural could look like.
Then they started looking for an artist, and an Aboriginal support worker at the school recommended mural artist Jason Craft.
Craft’s work can be seen on the exterior wall of Fairview Elementary and Kanaka Creek Elementary, in the gyms at Meadowridge School and Laity View Elementary, and in the gym and entrance at Yennadon Elementary, amongst other schools across the community and province.
Mcgimpsey knew Craft would be a good fit.
The group sent Craft, who lives on Vancouver Island, their ideas and he set to work making their vision become a reality.
“It was a really nice process,” said Mcgimpsey, who has never before embarked on a project like this.
Craft drew draft images of what the mural would look like, sending them to the group at Garibaldi for their opinion. They would look at each revision and ask each other what they liked about the image and what elements did not fit. Then they would tell Craft, who sent revisions until the mural was just right.
A little more than 20 people were involved in the process over the two years the mural was in the making, some students graduating during that time. The mural was finished at the beginning of July and is just in need of a protective coating which will be done before students head back to school in September.
This entire project was financed by revenue generated by the school’s teaching kitchen and cost around $10,000.
Mcgimpsey feels the mural represents the theme well. And he likes to think that every time somebody takes a look at it, they will discover something new in the image.
“We wanted it to represent, essentially everyone, that everyone could see a piece of themselves in that,” he explained.
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