Burnaby mural gone but not to be forgotten
Burnaby artist Jane Appleby knew the day would come when a mural she painted years ago at Charles Rummel Centre would be no more.
Still, when she saw crews painting over the colourful work, covering all four exterior walls in a Ted Harrison style, she couldn't help but be a little sad.
After all, it was her first outdoor mural, a work she believes helped her gain confidence and started her on the path towards a career as a professional artist.
"I knew it could happen at some point," Appleby said. "It's like a family member passing, like it's their time, somebody that's lived a good life."
She was also sad for the students at Seaforth elementary who contributed their ideas to the mural as part of a class project 14 years ago.
"You can't keep everything," she said. "I didn't expect this particular mural to last as long as it did."
Wendy Scott, Burnaby's assistant director of recreation, said the centre was very much in need of a new paint job and the mural had probably lasted longer than usual.
"It's an extensive mural, it covers every side of the building which isn't normally what we do now, to cover the whole building, because it does make it very difficult when the building has to be repainted."
Scott noted that the city does like to create some recognition of such community art projects when they reach the end of their life. Parks department staff plan to create a small display with photos and an explanation of how the mural came about, which would be framed and installed inside the centre.
A regular paint job starts to fade, crack and chip after about 10 years, Scott said, and murals themselves can become outdated.
"People also get used to seeing it so they don't see it. That's why to do a more contemporary mural will be very effective."
Work will begin on a new mural in 2013 and will include community involvement, she said. It will be painted on panels, which could then be taken down and moved to a new location when the time comes to repaint the building again. It would also likely be on only one side of the building.
Along with being a community project, the mural served to deter graffiti, creating pride and ownership in the centre. Scott said graffiti can also be deterred by the building looking well cared for. And if the rest of the centre is a single colour, it would be easier to paint over any graffiti vandalism that occurs.
Wesburn Community Centre is the only other Burnaby parks facility with a similar mural, on one wall facing the playing fields, she said. When that building needs repainting, a similar effort will be made to acknowledge the mural, and if the community wants a new one, it would also be painted onto removable panels.
Appleby was happy to hear the old Rummel centre mural will be remembered and that a new artwork will eventually take its place.
"The thing about outdoor murals is that everybody can, as they're driving by or walking by in our fast-paced life, can take something in and there's artwork on a big scale."
Meanwhile, she's still working through her own emotions about saying goodbye to the previous mural.
"It's a funny feeling I'm not knowing how to deal with," she said with a laugh.