A mural serving as a memorial to those who have lost their lives to substance abuse and mental health problems will soon be displayed in Port Hardy.
Ocean Argyle, a Port Hardy student, proposed the mural idea to the Parks, Recreation, Arts, and Culture Committee.
In her artists’ proposal, Argyle explained that after losing a close friend in 2017, she turned to art to help process the loss and that the mural would be dedicated to her friend and “the countless other members of our community that we have lost to substance abuse and mental health issues.”
“While growing up I have noticed that Port Hardy, like all communities across British Columbia, has been dealing with a silent but devastating substance abuse epidemic and largely unspoken mental health issues,” wrote Argyle. “I want to start a conversation about both of these issues within Port Hardy through my art and to bring into the light the struggles so many face on their own.”
At Port Hardy’s regular council meeting on May 22, council heard a recommendation from the Parks and Rec Committee stating that “Council offer Ocean Argyle the opportunity to paint her presented mural on the District Sea-Can being purchased to house emergency preparedness supplies which will be located near the tennis courts and that staff be directed to enter into an installation and maintenance agreement with Ocean if the offer is accepted.”
Coun. Fred Robertson said that Argyle proposed the mural a few meetings ago and “worked diligently talking to the committee and planning and she’s working on a budget and raising money.”
He also noted that Coun. Tidbury came up with the idea to use the new container for the mural, as he thought it would be a good fit for the project.
“It is only through ongoing and open communication that we are going to heal as a community and provide the appropriate supports our community members require,” wrote Argyle in her proposal. “I hope this project encourages other community members to step forward with their stories, their gifts, and their skills to join the conversation. “
The recommendation to offer Argyle the opportunity to paint her mural on the new District Sea-Can was approved by council.
“I am very excited about the mural project being approved by council, I had gone out the day before and purchased the paint and some supplies in hopes of getting approval and the very next day found out it was approved,” said Argyle in an email to the North Island Gazette.
She will also be taking a three-day workshop in Nelson, BC in late June with a professional artist to learn about creating large public art installations.
Argyle will begin the mural on Aug. 1 with the goal of completing the project on Aug. 31.
To help cover the costs of the final amount for the art project, Argyle has launched a gofund me campaign that can be found at www.gofundme.com/port-hardy-mural-project, if you wish to donate.