A couple of local artists are creating some familiar scenery inside of Tsawwassen Mills.
Natalie Way and Jan Rankin are putting the finishing touches this week on a mural that features a view of Mt. Baker from Centennial Beach. The piece is located in the nature-themed area of the mall near Shopper’s Drug Mart. The pair were approached by Mills staff as more and more stores have re-opened amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we resumed operations we wanted to welcome back shoppers in a positive, uplifting and authentic way. We thought what a better way to connect than with some local artists and utilize some of our physical space to give back and connect with the community,” explained Kristina Shier, Mills’ Marketing and Tourism Director. “When the mall was originally developed and built, we did a lot of work with Tsawwassen First Nation artists. This is the first time we have done active live painting in the centre. We love it and I think it’s something we are going to continue to do in the future.”
Way specializes in murals and it was up to her and Rankin what experience they wanted to create at the mall. It took a couple of weeks to put it altogether.
“There aren’t a lot of necessarily iconic spots that everybody is going to know right away but this was an obvious one, the Mt. Baker view from Centennial Beach,” said Way. “The whole concept is about the child (or person) connected with nature a little bit differently. It’s more important these days and so that’s why we are flying a heron. The idea of the sun is there are better days to come.
“It’s creating that whole feeling. I read people’s posts on Facebook and that. That’s how people are getting their fill in life right now is nature. It’s providing the colour and excitement for them.”
For Rankin, this is her first mural project and the timing couldn’t be better as COVID-19 restrictions have hit the arts community hard.
“One of the challenges is we have very few outlets for art right now,” she said. “We have the ‘Love for Art’ event every year and we had to shut it down. It’s one of many things. Even our local galleries are down to only two days a week open and there are no markets.”
“It’s good to see businesses finding other avenues to get our work out there,” added Way.