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More art coming to back alleys

September 16, 2016 11:23 A.M.
Kelly Wright working on a downtown mural. (KCBIA/Facebook)

More of Kamloops’ back alleys will become open-air galleries with $19,000 in provincial funding for a work experience project announced Friday.

Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association will use the money to continue its Back Alley Art Gallery Job Creation Partnership project, which gives two people work experience while helping to beautify the downtown core’s alleyways.

Part of the idea is to encourage pedestrian traffic and reduce vandalism through art in high graffiti areas.

Mural locations for this year’s project are behind Red Collar Brewing Co., Service Canada and Carlos O’Bryan’s Pub.

The project’s two participants began on July 18 and are gaining work experience in large-scale design and mural painting techniques, as well as communications and networking with local businesses and stakeholders. The participants will be better prepared to find full-time employment once the project is complete on Oct. 21.

“Having the opportunity to paint murals has been amazing,” said Eric Crowe, one of the participants. “I never thought I could get paid to paint. I have always loved painting and was thrilled when I was hired for this job.”

Crowe said he’s learned many new skills and techniques while working with Kelly Wright and Britanee Neufeld on the murals on Red Collar Brewery.

Gay Pooler, KCBIA general manager, said government support for the program has exceeded expectations and it’s providing visible results.

“Not only is it an integral part of our complete streets initiative – public spaces that are friendly, supportive, appealing and safe – but it has become a great tourism product, welcoming thousands of visitors and art appreciators each year.”

The Back Alley Art Gallery initiative also received more than $19,000 in provincial funding last fall for two people to gain work experience, producing murals at All Aboard Games, the Fremont Block building and Hampton Gallery.

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