Youth in Inuvik design art for new downtown light mural

As residents of Inuvik, Northwest Territories walk down Mackenzie Road – the town’s main street – they may notice that the local NorthMart is a little different.

The front of the building was once a blank white wall, but is now a vibrant yellow, with pink and purple animals and snowmobiles adorning it.

The designs were created by local youth who worked with an artist to see their designs come to life.

Not everyone has the luxury of having art at home or having the time to create their own art.-Patrick Thompson, artist

The town of Inuvik began plans for a mural about four years ago.

“This year in particular, we had with the 60th Inuvik [anniversary], the 30th Festival of the Far North Arts … we really wanted to see if we could get something to showcase a little vibrancy, ”said Jackie Challis, Director of Tourism and Economic Development in Inuvik.

The city applied to the Northwest Territories Arts Council and received $ 10,000 to help support the project, and also received in-kind donations and sponsorships.

The next step was to find an artist who had experience creating art in the North and who engaged young people.

The Northwest Territories Arts Council provided $ 10,000 to help support the mural project in Inuvik. (Mackenzie Scott / CBC)

Patrick Thompson was chosen for the task. Thompson co-manages Embassy of Imagination, a mobile art school that has worked with children for about six years in Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

He arrived in town in early July and worked with children in the library.

“I asked them to go back to their memory banks just with scissors and paper to cut out these animals that attracted them,” Thompson said.

From there, he enlarged the paper cutouts and sawn the large-scale creations into sixty wooden animals.

Young girls “excited” to see their own creations

While Thompson and his team mounted the mural, Angel Esau-Minakis and Kaycee Campbell cycled by.

The young women created a cutout which they called a “seal rabbit”.

“It’s nice to know that other people are going to see what we did and I’m pretty excited it’s on the side of a building,” said Campbell.

Angel Esau-Minakis and Kaycee Campbell with their own “bunny-seal” design. (Mackenzie Scott / CBC)

The girls were among more than 20 young people who contributed to their designs.

Thompson said the mural gives the city’s artwork for years to come.

“Not everyone has the luxury of having art at home or having the time to create their own art… and I think having art in public spaces is healthy for everyone. the world, ”Thompson said.

“Remembering the talents of the young people who live in this city and other cities is good for everyone. It reminds us that the future is bright.

Joseph E. Golightly