Public Art and Community – The Mural Project in Action

The Mural Project installs new murals every 18-36 months at designated public buildings in the Comox Valley Regional District.

Most recently, in summer 2014, we installed one at Woodcote Park led by artist Tracy Kobus and one at Puntledge Park led by artist Helen Utsal.

Woodcote Park Mural painting in action, Artist Tracy Kobus
Woodcote Park Mural painting in action, Artist Tracy Kobus

CVCAC has installed 8 murals over the past several years, in partnership with the City of Courtenay and other project partners including Comox Valley Art Gallery, Comox Valley Community Justice Institute, the Elks Lodge #60 and the Linc. The program involves professional artists working directly with local youth through a multi-week installation process in the summer months, in and around our community.

Take a look at all the great murals in the Valley!

The Mural Project is a key development activity for the future of public art in our community. It enables engagement between social and arts organizations, creating more diverse partnership opportunities and allowing us to build successful and lasting relationships. As an extra bonus, it engages youth in societal and personal development and offers an structured environment to increase their knowledge of how to create and fulfill possibilities for themselves. AND the best part, AMAZING ART in our community made by our local artists and our youth.

CVCAC is seeking letters of interest from professional mural artists with group facilitation skills. We anticipate the opportunity to install another mural in Downtown Courtenay in Spring 2017.

Potential candidates must have: 

  • Extensive experience in community-engaged, visual arts practice
  • A strong interest in and commitment to socially engaged practice and collaboration
  • Ability to facilitate discussion and respectful of acknowledging and including diverse ideas with youth
  • Reliable and ready to adhere to timelines but also flexible and respectful of community process
  • Ability to provide artistic mentorship for youth
  • Commitment to artistic excellence

Want to lead, or participate in, a Mural Project?

If interested in the opportunity please forward a letter of interest including a description of teaching/mentorship experience, artist profile and examples of art work to [email protected].

We are also accepting applications from interested youth ages 16 – 24. Please send a paragraph outlining why you would be interested in committing to this project to [email protected] or have your arts mentor/instructor email a recommendation.

Volunteers are always welcome!

Tracy Kobus Paints Mural at Lewis Centre Outdoor Stage

Comox Valley residents have another mural to enjoy. Local artist, Tracy Kobus was commissioned by the City of Courtenay in partnership with the Comox Valley Community Arts Council to paint a mural on the recent addition of the Lewis Centre Outdoor Stage. The city has been busy making many changes to the Lewis Centre and the addition of the outdoor stage will further enhance Lewis Park’s ability to host community enjoyed outdoor events.  The city funded the mural so while the stage is not in use passersby can enjoy the mural, which is painted on both sides of the stage.

Tracy Kobus chose to paint a landscape to reflect the natural elements she loves most about the Comox Valley. The mural captures the glacier and Mt Washington against blue skies and eagles amidst the lush greenery of fir and maple trees. She kept the composition simple to enhance activities on stage while it’s strong design aesthetic is able to be enjoyed on it’s own when the stage is vacant.

It took Kobus over 100 hours to complete the mural. She worked mainly on her own but the CVCAC received a grant that gave two high school students a combined total of 12 paid work experience hours to assist Kobus on the mural. The CVCAC also supported Kobus by providing the paint and equipment needed for the painting and applied for the grant, which paid for her work.

She said working on the mural was a dream job, combining her love of painting and the outdoors. She is grateful for the opportunity to create a public art piece that contributes to the rich arts culture in the Comox Valley.

Kobus describes her paintings as explorations of “domesticity and wilderness, rational and intuitive, chaos and order, imaginary and real—and, in doing so, she summons our imaginations to consider our connections to the world around us.” To see more of Kobus’ work, visit her website, where you can read her weekly blog and sign up for her monthly newsletter.

Art On the Wall

Art on the Wall, is a community initiative that was developed in partnership by the Comox Valley Art Gallery, the Comox Valley Community Justice Centre, the Elk’s Lodge, the City of Courtenay and the Comox Valley Community Arts Council where we worked with youth from our community ages 15-24 that are interested in art and community.

Over many months, the youth worked under the mentorship of artists Anh Le and Joshua Klassen to learn the process of designing, planning and installing murals.  Youth were given the opportunity to work on a collaborative and fun community project, and to hone their creative skills, gain hands-on guidance from visual arts professionals, work on developing their artistic voice, gain work experience, and work as a team.

Instructor Josh Klassen says "I had an inspiring time spending months brainstorming, dreaming, and planning with the youth involved in this project. It was great to witness such positive attitudes and willingness to work together."

Working with a host of community organizations also gave them a chance to gain understanding of community service and instill and/or reinforce community pride, encourage dialogue and collaboration develop appreciation for the arts develop a sense of social engagement, provide opportunities for freedom of expression, get involved in community development and gain a sense of empowerment.

Lisa Woolman of the Elks Lodge says, “The mural, I think, is outstanding because it is unlike any other we see in the Valley. It speaks to the possibility of difference."

"What began as a casual email communication developed into a dialogue between the Elks, the Art Gallery, the City of Courtenay and the Community Justice Centre, and the Comox Valley Community Arts Council, finally culminating in the completion of the youth mural project. There is much untapped opportunity in collaboration of this type in the community. It is when we speak to each other across our perceived differences that we discover the best in ourselves and in others. We have extraordinarily talented people of diverse backgrounds who contribute to our community in innumerable ways -- and this should be celebrated.”

And the mural certainly achieves its goal. The City of Courtenay, a partner in the project, says the mural is successful in many ways. “The mural looks great and it is good to see the design and artwork of youth artists showcased in our downtown core” says Randy Wiwchar the City’s director of community services. “Community partners worked so well together to make this happen”. We are incredibly excited to see it completed!  The Diversity Mural can be seen from Cliffe Ave and Simms Street is located on the side of the Elks Lodge #60 in Downtown Courtenay.


We gratefully acknowledge:

All the community support and donations from General Paint and Cloverdale Paint.

Funding support from:

  • the City of Courtenay,
  • the Elks Lodge,
  • BC Arts Council and
  • Canada-EmbraceBC.

The diversity mural is part of a larger community initiative hosted by the Comox Valley Community Justice Centre – ‘organizing against racism and hatred’.

There have been several murals installed in the City of Courtenay by the youth of our community.

See images and locations below. If you have any questions, want to volunteer or want to make a donation to this project, please contact Dallas Stevenson at [email protected]

Watch the making of the Canada World Youth Mural!