NANAIMO — There's more sunshine in downtown Nanaimo and commuters have more pep in their step when walking by the recently completed urban art gallery.
All murals along the A&B Sound building on the corner of Terminal St. and Commercial Ave. are now finished and sealed after a summer of painting.
Curators Alyssa Glassford and Lauren Semple told NanaimoNewsNOW they've heard incredible feedback from the community about their project to bring more colour to what was a routinely maligned section of downtown.
“The community has really taken pride in this corner again,” Semple said. “We really hope people can come and find one piece where they say 'I really love that, it speaks to me, makes me happy and puts a little hop in my step on the way to work.'”
The various murals, including angel wings, cats in astronaut suits, bright fruit and honey bees, are also being used in the background for downtown businesses and promotional material.
Glassford said it's a relief to see the murals so widely accepted and used to their full potential.
“Obviously it's a pretty big project so weren't totally sure what to expect, because neither of us have taken on so many murals in one summer before. It turned out better than I could have imagined.”
Having sat empty for many years, the A&B Sound building was often used to signify the blight downtown Nanaimo had become, especially once the Jean Burns building across the street burned down and was later demolished.
“We believe in urban rehabilitation through large-scale public art,” Semple said. “We've seen what it does, we've put it into practice and we've seen the results.”
The concept of creating murals for more buildings across Nanaimo, such as the project with the Nanaimo Arts Council, has recently caught on.
Glassford and Semple said they're open to creating more murals across town and beautifying as many derelict sites as possible.
On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit