The Project 104 High School Art Collective Graffiti Team, in partnership with the Moose Jaw Police Service, unveiled its latest mural at the Public Comfort Station in Crescent Park on Thursday.
The mural is painted in a style similar to stained glass and depicts bridges and waterfalls to encompass what Crescent Park is all about. The murals were installed in the often-vandalized windows of the Comfort Station.
Lead artist Emma Rowlinson said a lot of research went into designing the mural including the library archives and discussions with historians.
“My mom and I went to the library archives, and we were looking at pictures of what Crescent Park used to look like. I thought it was gorgeous and I wanted to put that in an image for people to see,” Rowlinson said.
The art collective, along with the police, decided to put artwork up at the Comfort Station after they were approached by the city’s parks supervisor Daily Lennox to see if something could be done at that location to deter graffiti and vandalism.
One challenge for Rowlinson was the fact that the Public Comfort Station is a Municipal Heritage building, so the building itself could not be altered in any way.
“There’s a bit more restrictions on what you can do with it. But it ended up working out well. I just had to alter the design a little bit and it still looks good. I’m still very satisfied with how it turned out,” she said.
Project 104 has partnered with the Moose Jaw Police Service since 2014 in which the police service funds the supplies and materials for the art projects to cover up areas that are often vandalized or tagged with graffiti.
Chief Rick Bourassa said he wanted to find a way to beautify those locations to deter vandalism, so he reached out to the local schools to see if any young artists would be interested in helping and ended up meeting with Peacock Collegiate teacher Cori Saas.
“One of them came back to me and said, yeah, there's teacher, Cori Saas, who I think would be interested,” he said.
“So, we were introduced, and it started from there. She had a group of students that just had this incredible talent and this incredible vision, but no real good place to show their artwork after it was created, and we had a challenge with graffiti on buildings.”
Saas added that they are grateful for the partnership with the Moose Jaw Police Service. She said, not only do they help fund the projects, but they are also hands-on in helping make it happen and it becomes a great opportunity for the police officers to make connections with the students.
“If you have youth that might have one perspective and a very false understanding of who police officers are and then all of a sudden, you’re painting alongside a police officer or police chief, it completely changes and that you cannot undo that narrative again,” Saas said.
As for the artwork, Saas said it is a big deal for the students to be able to have their work displayed publicly.
“Think of it, you are 15 years old, and you create art that will be up for 25 years. You don’t even have a grasp of what 25 years is. But you can say when you’re a parent or when you leave here and come back, ‘I can bring my family and say I did that,’” Saas said.
Since its inception, the art collective has produced murals in about 14 locations around the city and the idea behind it has been working. Since 2014, only one of the 14 locations has been vandalized.
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