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New mural featured in hospital to recognize healthcare workers

“When COVID-19 hit our community and we all faced lockdown, our team knew immediately that we needed to serve this community, and we were always thinking about who in our community is vulnerable right now. We quickly realized that health care workers were very vulnerable and the new unsung heroes, and we wanted to do something that would honour them through the arts."

CANMORE – A community created mural recognizing the work of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic will be featured in the Canmore General Hospital lobby.

The project saw artsPlace partner with Mosaic Murals, an Alberta-based company that creates large public artwork from tiles, to create the roughly 300 individual tiles into one mural.

The mural was created over a period of several months in 2020 and 2021, with hundreds of locals in the Bow Valley working on the project from free workshops hosted by artsPlace in 2020.

“When COVID-19 hit our community and we all faced lockdown, our team knew immediately that we needed to serve this community, and we were always thinking about who in our community is vulnerable right now,”said artsPlace programs director Nicole Fougère. “We quickly realized that healthcare workers were very vulnerable and the new unsung heroes, and we wanted to do something that would honour them through the arts.

“We also knew that we had a role to play to bring community together, and we decided to create a mural where many different community members would be able to make a small part.”

Fougère said the tiles were painted by children, families, professional artists and displayed the creativity highlighted in the valley.

“I think that this mural project was a great way to explore how our community and our landscape play a big part in our sense of self,” said local artist Libby Amber Pryor, whose drawing served as the source material for the mural, in a media release.

The exploration of collective identity through the connection with the land was the inspiration for a healthcare worker looking down on the Bow Valley. The original sketch was re-rendered digitally by Mosaic Murals to communicate colour values for each tile.

“I think that this project was so important to do at this time not only as a thank you to our healthcare workers, but also to bring people together and give them the space to look after their own well-being through a creative means,” said Pryor. “Creativity is fantastic for our mental health.

“In the workshops, I would ask people, ‘where do you see resilience?’ Hearing the conversations and seeing the work that came out of that, you can see how deeply this community does connect with the land that we are so lucky to call home. I find it very inspiring.”

The mural, which was completed in June and installed in July, will be a permanent fixture at the hospital.

“It’s been very challenging for the staff this past year. They worked really hard for everyone during this pandemic, doing the best that they can,” says Brenda Jeffery, the hospital’s administrative assistant.

“The mural is so amazing, I’m glad to see it all come together, hopefully at the end of this pandemic.”