Gar­gan­tuan crus­tacean

Gi­ant mu­ral in heart of cap­i­tal cre­ated for new fes­ti­val

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY MAU­REEN COUL­TER

A larger-than-life lob­ster emerg­ing from a ship’s steer­ing wheel has down­town Char­lot­te­town visi­tors stop­ping in their tracks.

The gi­ant mu­ral on the side of Ti­mothy’s World Cof­fee Shop is 80 feet long and two com­mer­cial sto­ries high, por­tray­ing crash­ing waves, a light­house, an an­chor, a tall ship and an oc­to­pus.

This is the first year for a fes­ti­val called Char­lot­te­town Mu­ral, which is in the works to be­come an an­nual event pro­duced by Shift Pro­ject and Event Man­age­ment.

The mu­ral on the side of Ti­mothy’s is like noth­ing the Is­land has seen be­fore at least not in her life­time, said Becka Viau, pro­ject man­ager at Shift and artis­tic di­rec­tor of Char­lot­te­town Mu­ral.

“We have such beau­ti­ful public art al­ready … Our city is very vo­cal about fos­ter­ing public art and the cul­tural com­mu­nity in the city,” said Viau “It’s an at­trac­tion for peo­ple to come to the city but also just a great in di­ver­si­fy­ing public art.”

The crew work­ing on the mu­ral is A ’Shop, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion based out of Mon­treal. In Mon­treal, they have a sim­i­lar fes­ti­val in mid June. The crew started the mu­ral July 2 and will have it com­pleted by July 10.

Viau sent the crew videos from the Dis­cover Char­lot­te­town web­site for back­ground, but the theme and il­lus­tra­tion for the mu­ral came from the artists mount­ing it.

“What I re­ally want is for the art­work to be artist led,” she said. “I want us to be pre­sent­ing con­tem­po­rary art …We are not look­ing to present com­mis­sioned art­work.”

Viau hopes this mu­ral will lead up to a full fes­ti­val next year in late June. The con­cept is that ev­ery year, artists would re­paint the walls with the mu­rals.

”We are de­bat­ing if it is go­ing to hap­pen in one bang, where we have mul­ti­ple walls be­ing painted for a cou­ple of weeks in June, or if we are go­ing to do a se­ries that will take place over the sum­mer,” said Viau “We are just sort of try­ing to find that per­fect fit for Char­lot­te­town.”

She hopes Is­lan­ders feel a sense of pride of their down­town com­mu­nity when they see the mu­ral as the con­tent con­nects with P.E.I. so di­rectly.

“I hope that peo­ple smile when they see it and that they are inspired by the beauty.”

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