Why We Paint

Join in the fun July 23 and 24

New Westminster is a beautiful city with historic architecture, green parks, and the iconic Fraser River. So why do we need to paint it beautiful?

In a (seemingly) brilliant idea over endless cups of tea, we decided that an unsightly strip of Columbia Street needed some sprucing up and we were the women to do it. But how?

We batted around a few ideas until one made sense: we would get the community to help us! And thus, an idea for a neighbourhood small grant was born. The result: a vibrant mural created by the community. We were infinitely fortunate to be supported by well-known New Westminster artist Gillian Wright who guided the artist visioning of the project and calmed our sometimes-fear that we would end up with a colourful blob on the wall. Gillian was generous with her time and paintbrushes and created a piece of artwork that reflected the city we love.Paint 2

We also worried that we would end up having to paint the entire mural ourselves (our art skills leaving much to be desired), but lo and behold, over 200 members of the community came out to take part in the mural. Some people came down with the intention of contributing while others were simply strolling by and were inspired to pick up a paintbrush.

One family painted their house number onto one of the buildings, leaving their own personalized mark on the mural. A local mom brought her daughter down to take part then ended up herself staying all afternoon to hand draw eye-catching flowers. One woman told us that her brother had just passed away and she was drawing him into the mural with every brush stroke. A senior stood watching for what seemed like hours and declined taking part until he couldn’t help himself any longer and he grabbed one of the small brushes to do some fine details. Some improvisation took place, with the Star Trek Enterprise, a storm trooper, and dinosaurs making an appearance.

Paint 1

The result, both visually and from a community building standpoint, was gratifying to say the least. Which is why we’re doing it again! And this time we are even more ambitious.

Have you checked out the awesome new playground in Moody Park yet? Ever noticed the somber grey building that holds the washrooms and some electrical/citystuff? Ever thought “wouldn’t that look amazing with some sunflowers, fish, butterflies and mandalas painted on it”? Well… us too!

Join us (and a couple hundred members of the community) as we Paint New West Beautiful Round 2 – the Adult Colouring Book Edition. It’s going to be a family-friendly painting extravaganza taking place—you guessed it —at Moody Park on July 23 and 24 from 10:00 until 3:00 both days. All painting supplies will be provided and there is no cost to participate. You don’t need any artistic skill or experience to take part (especially since we’re not exactly known for our own artistic prowess). Artist Mari Posa is contributing the artwork this year and she will be on hand to help translate her vision onto the wall with the help of the community. We’ve been supported once again by a generous grant from the Vancouver Foundation’s Neighbourhood Small Grants program. We’ve also received support from the Arts Council of New Westminster’s Arts To Go program.

Check out Uptown Live, then wander over with your family and friends to pick up a paintbrush —and help us to paint New West Beautiful.

Nadine Nakagawa

Nadine Nakagawa is a community builder, a creative writer, a feminist, and an idealist. She loves spring-time flowers, a new notebook, and politics. Still operating on Island-time, she lives in Brow of the Hill area of New Westminster. You can find her eating vegan meals at local restaurants and walking her golden retriever Gus around the uptown area. Follow her #ilovenewwest series on Instagram and Twitter.

Nadine Nakagawa is a really valued member of the Tenth to the Fraser community. Interested in joining our pool of writers? Please see these submission guidelines.

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