Smithers’ artist Facundo Gastia designed and helped paint the first mural on the corner of Park Ave. and Emerson St. as part of this year’s Skeena Salmon Art Festival. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Five murals to be painted in Terrace this summer

Artists paint together in celebration of the Skeena Salmon Art Festival

Terrace is going to look a little more colourful as five murals are being painted this summer.

The Skeena Salmon Art Festival Society and the Terrace Downtown Improvement Area Society (TDIA) have come together to brighten up the city with mural art to celebrate the area.

“We plan [on painting] many other buildings that have been built as a concrete block and that are just crying out for art,” says Dave Gordon, chair of the TDIA and organizer of the Skeena Salmon Art Festival. “We have kind of a drab environment in the wintertime with gray clouds and lots of dirty snow, [so] having colour in town really makes it vibrant, colourful for those five to six months of winter.”

The first mural in progress is on the backside of the Investors Group and MNP LLP building on the corner of Park Ave. and Emerson St., which overlooks the Skeena Valley Farmers’ Market. Designed by Smithers’ artist Facundo Gastia, the painting features salmon, devil’s club, salmonberry and other natural elements of the Northwest.

“People are jumping up and down happy to see colour with the celebration of salmon, First Nations’ art and beautifying our city,” says Gordon. “We have the salmon that come up here to spawn and die… [this mural] coincides with the time that the salmon eggs are hatching and moving down the river.”

READ MORE: Five things to get excited about for Terrace’s Riverboat Days

As a salmon biologist in the area for 30 years, Gordon says there tends to be a lot of controversial issues regarding the catching and protection of salmon here, but with salmon-themed art, there’s been only positive feedback.

“Everybody loves it and there’s not much controversy over whether we should have salmon art in town, it’s been really fun to do something so positive and have such a legacy for the community.”

Last year, local artist Casey Braam painted the mural on the Bank of Nova Scotia’s wall, while Facundo Gastia and his artistic team created the mural on the Stantec building — both of which have been well-received by the public, says Gordon. With the aesthetic improvement it added to Terrace, it was decided that more murals were needed.

With a grant from the BC Rural Dividend Fund and financial contribution from the building owners, Gordon says they’re happy to see the community coming together to make these five murals possible.

READ MORE: Terrace spawns new salmon art festival

Many local artists will be working together over the upcoming weeks to paint the murals in celebration of the Skeena Salmon Art Festival, including Stephanie Anderson, Veronica Waechter, Casey Braam, Michelle Stoney, and Sarah Zimmerman.

“Some of the best First Nations’ artists in the world practice here…several of them are doing murals this year,” says Gordon. “We want to give those artists commercial opportunity so that they can stay and live in Terrace, practice their art and make our town more beautiful.”

The Skeena Salmon Festival art show will hold its grand opening at the Terrace Art Gallery on Aug. 2.

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The Terrace Standard will be running a series for the next three weeks featuring a Skeena Salmon Art Festival project in Terrace.

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(Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

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