Weyburn Arts Council opens contest for public art mural design

The Weyburn Arts Council has opened a contest for a design for a public mural to be installed on a downtown building, as shown in the above photos.

Curator Regan Lanning made the announcement on Thursday evening at the Allie Griffin Art Gallery, as she unveiled the plans to have people paint the mural during the Weyburn Car Show’s annual show-and-shine in June.

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The mural will go up on the north wall of Kat and Fuel’s shop on Second Street, facing the lot where the outdoor skating rink is currently located. The sign that is up for the Open Air Market will be taken down as they are no longer using that lot for their weekly market.

The contest for the mural design is open to all Weyburn and area residents, with a deadline of Tuesday, March 31. The winning artist or artists will be notified by April 9 and will be publicly announced on April 17.

The plan is for Weyburn Arts Council members to outline the mural on June 11-12, and to have available for people to paint on during the car show, and the public unveiling will take place on Canada Day, July 1.

The design “must be culturally appropriate and tied to Weyburn in some way. We’d like an original concept, and we’d like for it to be attractive,” said Lanning, adding with a laugh, “No wings!”

The winning designer or designers will win a $1,000 cash prize.

The arts council is also asking that artists consider the ability to recreate a design as a large mural that will be segmented into a sort of paint-by-number set up so anyone of any age or ability can step up and paint a square. The paints will be premixed and labeled to make it as simple as possible for anyone to take part in the project.

City works employees will have the panels up on the wall of the building in time for the car show, said Lanning.

Asked how local businesses could be involved, she said they could contribute materials, donate towards the paints, or come out on the day of the event as a group and do some squares of the mural.

“Any partnerships would be welcomed and appreciated,” she added, noting each panel will measure about four feet by eight feet.

After the squares are all painted, the City has provided a space where the arts council members can spread the pieces out and put a sealing coat on them, said Lanning, adding she expects there will be a need for volunteer artists to finish off all of the mural squares.

They will use a high-quality fluid paint that is designed for long-term exterior use, she explained. “It’s expensive, but I feel it’s worth it in the long run.”

Showing examples of large-scale murals from urban settings, Lanning said of the design, “We’d love the mural to be about Weyburn in some way, but I don’t want people to be limited to wheat fields or oil derricks at sunset. It should be high-impact, modern and graphic in nature.”

Murals painted today “are not like they used to. They’re very vibrant, eye-catching, and there’s nothing restful about them. Weyburn is dynamic, and that should be reflected on our streets and in our art.”

A design could combine the use of a word or words with images of people or scenes, she noted, adding the suggestion, “I’d love for a 13-year-old to enter the contest, and show what the future is going to look like in Weyburn.”

The concept to do a large public mural has been talked about by the arts council members for a long time, and it was mentioned at the recent forum on the arts that Lanning hosted at Signal Hill.

There are a number of other buildings around the downtown area she would like to see murals done, but first the arts council will see how this project goes and what level of participation and quality of designs are submitted.