Mural illustrates the past, present and future of Stanstead
Townships artist Trevor Mckinven was commissioned by Stanstead Youth Centre Coordinator Clea Corman to create a mural in town that would help create a sense of community pride for local youth.
The result, unveiled yesterday afternoon, was a 150-foot illustration of the past, present and possible future of Stanstead, painted along the east wall of the Granit Central Museum on Notre Dame Street.
Corman said the idea for the mural was developed with the help of Bishop’s University student Sasha Zinovich from the psychology department, doing a practicum at the youth centre this past winter.
While discussing the effect self-esteem has on students, Corman and Zinovich came up with the idea of creating something that could inspire local youth.
“A lot of the mentality about Stanstead is that there is nothing positive here,” Corman said, pointing out that the community has a lot to offer.
The mural was an opportunity to draw attention to the positive things in Stanstead and say, “hey, there are great things in your town.”
Corman asked visitors to Le Lounge (the youth centre) what they liked about their town and what they would like to see included in the mural.
The ideas were then incorporated into the design, Corman said.
“We put together a proposal and the town approved it,” she said, explaining that the project was funded half by the municipality, and half by the MRC.
She then consulted Ye Olde Blacksmith Gallery Curator Jackie Heim to find an artist who could bring the mural idea to life.
“I wanted somebody local,” Corman said.
Heim suggested she get in touch with Trevor Mckinven, who was happy to take on the ambitious project.
Mckinven began work on the Granit Central wall at the beginning of June and has been working on the mural, weather permitting, on and off since then.
The biggest challenge, according to Mckinven, was the surface.
“It’s corrugated tin,” he said, which casts shadows and requires a keen eye to keep the proper perspective. Standing a bit to the left or right could easily distort the image, Mckinven explained.
He also needed to plan his painting days around a lot of rainy weather.
“The drying alone takes a few hours,” he said.
Mckinven added that on a hot day when the tin heats, the paint goes on differently than when temperatures are cooler.
“This was my first large outdoor mural,” Mckinven said, more accustomed to working on a smaller scale.
The mural begins in Black and White, referring to the history of Stanstead and some of the key industries in the area. It then moves into colour and celebrates popular landmarks in town like the Pat Burns Arena, the Haskell Free Library and the stone circle.
Mckinven also included a maple tree and a cow, both of which recurring themes in his artwork and also part of the rural landscape of Stanstead.
While Mckinven admitted he is more of a Jersey guy, he painted a Holstein for this mural.
Often known for his saucy sense of humour, Mckinven also included a nod to Bag Balm, complete with a tongue-incheek seal of approval from Shania Twain.
Mckinven told The Record his favourite part of the experience has been all the locals stopping by to visit as he worked.
They often had stories to share about the sites Mckinven was painting, and were pleased to see all the different aspects of what makes Stanstead unique brought together in one mural.
“It’s a great motivation at the end of the day,” he said, referring to the positive feedback he received as he painted, sometimes all day in the full sun.
The final section of the mural, meant to look to the future, was saved until last to be a collaboration with local youth, Corman said.
“It’s about community pride,” she explained. “The youth in this town are the future of this town.”
As Mckinven added the finishing touches to the mammoth mural yesterday, Corman invited kids from the area to stop by in the afternoon to sign the ‘future’ section, and add what they would like to see in their town in the years to come.