There is a magnificent mural taking shape at Our Place Society, in the recreation room.
Explains Tracy Campbell, Community Relations Coordinator at the downtown Victoria street shelter, “anything that makes [Our Place] warmer and more inviting for people that are struggling is that much more special, and because in the winter this [the recreation room] is going to be a place where people will be sleeping, it again gives it that feeling of home…of something comfortable.”
The mural, created by artist Bob Sellmer, depicts a Vancouver Island rainforest.
“The challenge in a scene like this is to keep everything fresh, not to be repetitive…even though trees and plants are repetitive, you’ve still got to fill all that space with interesting shapes…” says Sellmer.
Yet Sellmer is up for not just that challenge, but also the scope of the mural.
“Being a painter, I obviously jumped at the chance to do a wall this big…this is probably the biggest piece I’ve ever done, so that in itself is the fun too, for me.”
So how did Sellmer ended up volunteering for this venture? That came about because of his job, as a dishwasher at Our Place.
“Bob and I ended up talking when he was working in the kitchen one day, and he ended up showing me some of his artwork that he’d created…and I loved the paintings, they were just fabulous paintings” exclaims Grant McKenzie, Director of Communications at Our Place Society.
“We had this blank wall, and we wanted it to be a bit more cozy, a bit more homey…I thought Bob’s artwork would be a perfect fit.”
Our Place is donating the paint, while Sellmer his donating all his time, painting between four and five hours each morning for the past two weeks, before starting his shift in the kitchen.
“It’s kinda just blurring from one day to the next. I just come here in the morning, and work until I’m tired…” Sellmer admits with a smile.
Watch Veronica Cooper’s feature on the Our Place Mural here.