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Online map curates Kelowna’s collection of public art murals

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Last summer, UBC Okanagan fine-art students used their skills to create a colourful mural of a salmon.

The art was created in an alley off St. Paul Street in downtown Kelowna.

Dianne Gray works as a geographic information systems specialist at Kelowna’s CTQ Consultants where the salmon mural was painted.

“For all of us here at the office, we got to see it being painted day by day, and all of the hard work that these students put in,” said Gray.

All the hard work that she witnessed wound up inspiring Gray to do some hard work of her own.

Gray used her skills analyzing spatial data to help draw attention to Kelowna’s burgeoning collection of murals by creating a digital map of the more than 60 works of public art.

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“I see these murals all the time, and I’m sure most people do, but they may not be paying attention to them,” Gray said.

Gray and CTQ Consultants’ new online map highlights each work of art with its exact location and adds factual information for each work, much like a gallery would.

Not only that but the map is also interactive.

“Anybody can submit either a new mural or corrections to an existing mural,” said Gray.

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“The mural map is super fantastic,” said David Doody of Kelowna.

Doody is a mural artist who’s had a hand in more than a dozen works around Kelowna, including designing the colourful salmon mural.

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Doody thinks the mural map is an incredible resource for the entire community.

“It’s like a single kind of location where you can find all of the information about all of the murals around town,” Doody said.

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According to Doody, the mural map could help Kelowna establish a reputation as a cultural capital of public art murals by curating the city’s collection.

“The hope for Kelowna is that in the future we are going to continue to grow our collection of public art when it comes to muraling,” Doody said.

“We’ve got a great collection and it’s being added to every season,” Doody added.

This summer, Doody will continue to add to Kelowna’s collection with at least seven more new murals on various walls around the city.

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Gray says each new mural will be added to CTQ’s mural map.

“We’re hoping to continue the legacy of this project and we’re hoping to get the community to continue painting murals around town,” said Gray.

Currently CTQ’s GIS mural map is available online using any browser. It can be viewed here.

Gray hopes that CTQ Consultants may turn it into a stand-alone app, sometime in the future.

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