Until it was finished, even Tyler Toews wasn’t sure how his massive mural adorning Nelson City Hall would look.
This week Toews completed his piece ‘Heart of the Community,’ an image 15 metres in height that not only adds life to the city’s white elephant but also immediately becomes a signature part of Nelson’s visual landscape.
Toews laboured on the piece through May, but because he had to work at his Krestova home he couldn’t know how it would look until all 15 panels were pieced together at city hall.
“The plan worked out,” he said Tuesday during a break from putting finishing touches on the mural. “I wasn’t sure until now.”
‘Heart of the Community’ is the end product of a selection process completed by a jury of arts, government and business representatives sponsored by the Nelson and District Arts Council. The final design was approved by city council on May 4, and funded by a $30,000 grant from Columbia Basin Trust as well as $7,500 from the city in 2019.
Toews has painted nearly 100 murals across Canada since 2002, but he said he took extra care with his latest project.
“It’s in my own community. So I’ve got to see the people who enjoy it or hate it every day,” he said.
“And so I put in the extra effort to make sure that I did a good job and made something that would be appreciated by most in our community, being such a front and centre building and place in our community. I did go the extra mile and I guess it was daunting in that sense.”
Toews said the mural is meant to be looked up at so viewers can appreciate the perspective that offers an illusion of looking through the building.
City hall’s windows were already decorated with hearts honouring the efforts of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Toews said the heart concept, which is divided into puzzle pieces representing the community’s diversity, was being workshopped as the pandemic hit Nelson.
“It’s ended up with a double meaning,” said Toews.
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