On Saturday, May 29 Centre64 hired local artist Jamie Cross to create a “Pride Wall” to be used as a backdrop for a public photo booth for people to use and celebrate Pride Month.
Kimberley Arts Council – Centre64 Administrator Christine Besold said that they’re hoping people will get out and utilize the photo booth and then share their shots to social media and tag Kimberley Arts Council.
“They don’t need to send them to us we just want to be tagged so we can see what the response is to this pride wall and what people come up with … people, animals anything,” Besold explained. “When we started planning this project we were thinking people could dress up their dogs or dress up themselves or just pose with their friends in their bubble and show their support.”
Cross, who also painted the mural behind the Old Crow Emporium and the Burrito Grill wall, painted the graffiti-style mural on Saturday and then Besold will met with City workers on Monday, who hung it on the north side of Centre64.
A life-long artist, Cross spent the past year going to school in Nelson, but he moved to Kimberley six years ago and before that, he spent a lot of time in the Okanagan, painting at the Penticton Art Gallery and various spots in Kelowna.
There was initially another artist booked for the job, but when he had to drop out Centre64 called Cross, and he hopped in his car and headed home from Nelson.
“Definitely young people are way more in tune to media now and they’re more more aware of civil rights issues or pride issues and I like this project because I’m in support of LGBTQ groups and so it was a no-brainer when they asked me to do it,” Cross said. “And it’s important that we rep our little town and say we’re here and being vocal about these issues.”
He added that in addition to celebrating pride, his colourful mural will simply be a beacon of positivity in the city after a long year of stress and uncertainty that everyone’s had to deal with.
“I think their hopes are that some colourful art with a positive message will have a positive impact on people and that generally is kind of our thing as well,” Cross said. “We’re just trying to make colourful nice bits of art.
“Hopefully we’re coming out of COVID and they’re interested in the impacts of public art and people who have been under stress, and it’s been tough for everyone.”
READ MORE: WATCH: Kimberley Pride Fest 2019
On June 8, Centre64 will also be launching their Artrageous gallery, this year to also celebrate Pride.
“We have encouraged artists to submit anything that goes with that theme,” Besold said. “So this show will probably be very interesting too, and it’s open to the public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday and there’s no admission fees so people can come and check it out.
“Of course we remind people to follow the COVID protocols when they come in.”
The idea for all this came up in one of the Visual Arts Committee meetings, Besold explained.
“The Visual Arts Committee is in charge of the gallery shows here at Centre64 so when we sat together we said we wanted to do something for Pride and this is the perfect, because Artrageous has always been Artrageous and we thought why not celebrate Pride this year with Artrageous.”
This may even become a yearly thing. Ordinarily, the opening of the Artrageous gallery would be celebrated with a full reception, but current COVID-19 restrictions do not allow for that, and so Besold hopes that next year they can do it again in the full format they usually do.
“We will also be video recording the whole thing because we enter into the BC Culture Days in October and we want to portray the arts community in Kimberley and so this will be one of our submissions amongst many others,” Besold added.
So if you’re in the neighbourhood, make sure to stop by Kimberley’s newest mural, and feel encouraged to snap a picture in front of it.