painting the history of our region
Mural painting is not a new concept- it goes back in history for centuries and are prevalent in countries around the world. Even in North America, the concept was not new (see Los Angeles), but as an economic development strategy- that's what makes this small town's mural project unique, and the standard by which many communities followed suit.
THE STORY of CHEMAINUS
Like many resource based communities, and communities that are reliant on a single major employer, its future would always be dependent on the fluctuating successes of both employer and environmental resources. British Columbia was in a recession in 1981 as resource revenues fell and affected communities large and small. Chemainus represented the typical mill town whose very existence was a result of the mill itself.
With an impending threat of possible closure of the town's major employer, Chemainus was faced with that very real possiblity of becoming the next ghost town. The fact that the town was off the main highway made it more vulnerable.
Under then BC government of Bill Van der Zalm, community initiative grants were being developed to aid towns in revitalization projects. Our then Mayor, Graham Bruce, was young, enthusiastic and forward-thinking. He presented the concept to the community and they in turn rallied to oversee what was to be the first community to complete a revitalisation, and also to become a world-famous example of how even a small town can create substantial change for survival.
More of this story to come . . .