Edmonton shopping mall turns construction wall into art gallery to honour community heroes

Click to play video: 'Southgate Centre creates art gallery over construction wall to honour community heroes' Southgate Centre creates art gallery over construction wall to honour community heroes
WATCH ABOVE: A plain wall covering construction in Southgate Centre has come alive, it's been transformed into an art gallery celebrating health care workers at an important time. Chris Chacon reports. – Sep 10, 2020

A plain wall covering construction inside Edmonton’s Southgate Centre shopping mall has come alive.

It’s been transformed into an art gallery that celebrates a special group of people at an important time.

“Typically, what we would normally do is apply a vinyl application over it, but we thought it was a beautiful blank canvas and we wanted to beautify it in a different way,” said Claire Kolmatycki, Southgate Centre’s marketing director.

After going back and forth on a few ideas, a plan was settled on.

“We can up with an idea of celebrating our local community heroes,” Kolmatycki said.

To do that, the mall decided to turn the wall into a colourful display of art paintings and invited local artists to help.

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“We kind of brainstormed together and thought about what if we just represented them as heroes to the most specific way, giving them superhero powers,” student artist Christopher Li said.

“We’re surrounded by technology and a lot of flashy things, so a lot of people don’t necessarily think a painting would be the thing that brightens their day in a dark time,” professional artist Nathan Panousis said.

“I was excited to be able to do that for someone.”

The art has been catching the eye of those walking by.

“It really spruces up the place for a good cause too, and yeah, it gives recognition to people who need it most,” mall visitor Kennedy Morton said.

“When I came in this morning, I noticed the pictures,” mall visitor Stephanie Morton said. “I haven’t been here for a while, so it was something nice and new. I think it’s really a great way to honour the front-line workers.”

“I think art and engaging local artists is a very therapeutic way to connect others with the story and the [COVID-19] pandemic that’s happening all around us.” Kolmatycki said.
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The project is also making its mark with its creators.

“The biggest thing on this, is just we wanted to say ‘thank you’ to all the front-line workers and show them how thankful we are,” Li said.

The art pieces will remain on display for roughly a year.

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