INNISFAIL – It suddenly turned cold and windy but dozens of Innisfailians came anyway to be part of the town’s new grand public art project on Main Street.
This time it was on the exterior south and west walls of the Innisfail Royal Canadian Legion Branch #104; mere metres away from last year’s hugely successful public art project on the south wall of The Coffee Cottage.
The kick-off party for the legion mural project was held at 5 p.m. on July 10, and the project, which is expected to take two months to complete, began with volunteers splashing blue ‘Mural Project’ notices on the exterior wall panels as fiddlers Murray Cameron and Brian Jackson played welcoming tunes.
"The community already seems thrilled to participate and I think this mural is going to be a fantastic experience,” said local artist Karen Scarlett who is spearheading the Legion mural project.
She noted more than 250 volunteers performing numerous tasks helped with last year’s mural project and is expecting at least that number to be part of the current Legion public art work that will cover 2,074 square feet of exterior walls.
Scarlett also invited members of the Innisfail Art Club to participate, which they enthusiastically did last year for The Coffee Cottage project.
“I have already had local families send me images of veterans to possibly include in the project and many people have let me know they would love to volunteer and help out,” said Scarlett. “I can not wait to help build more connection in our community. Together we are better.”
As for legion members, they are enthusiastically behind the project; a fact proven by the $30,000 raised by members to support the new public art.
“They (members) think it's a great thing. I haven't heard any negative comments or anything about it,” said Stephen Black, president of the local legion branch. “I think what it does is it brings the community together to do this project and it'll bring people to town to see it.
“It'll show what the legion is all about; the history, the poppy campaign, just everything about veterans,” added Black. “We’re here to help veterans and spouses and for the community as well.”
Several members of town council also came to the mural launch, including Town of Innisfail Mayor Jean Barclay, who called the project and its launch a “great start and celebration.
“Anytime you have murals and art installations that certainly brightens up Main Street and it will be a great welcoming to all the people who come into Innisfail and it gets people’s attention,” said Barclay.