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Public consultation now underway for Vernon, B.C. mural project

Click to play video: 'Public consultation now underway for Vernon, B.C. mural project' Public consultation now underway for Vernon, B.C. mural project
The debate on the installation of controversial murals in Vernon continues. Now the Vernon Public Art Gallery will be taking public feedback to determine the next step in the project. Jasmine King has more. – Jun 20, 2022

The debate on the installation of controversial murals in Vernon, B.C. continues.

At the beginning of the month, it was announced that murals from the ‘Behind the Mask’ project would be installed around the city.

Read more: New murals about mental heath to be installed in Vernon

The art has been subject to controversy and caused an uproar from Vernon residents. Petitions have been created for and against the murals. Due to public debate, the project is on hold. Vernon city council wants public consultation before they take the next step.

“I think there was a lot of misinformation that was going out earlier on in the media process, it really did a disservice to the project overall,” said Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director, Dauna Kennedy.

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Read more: Duelling petitions highlight divide over new Vernon, B.C. murals

The Vernon Public Art Gallery is educating community members on what the ‘Behind the Mask’ exhibit is and the story the art shares. They want residents to learn the significance of the murals before making their decisions.

“The public has the opportunity to come in and see the exhibition and take in some of the educational pieces that we’ve added to our website as well as some of our other resources.”

Read more: Controversial Vernon, B.C. mural project sent back for public consultation

In order to collect feedback, tablets are set up at the gallery where residents can fill out a confidential survey. They will be extending their hours to allow for more people to take part in the survey.

“We don’t really have the ability to pick up this art and take it with us around town. It seemed to make sense to invite people into the gallery. We’ll have staff and volunteers available to answer any questions people may have,” added Kennedy.

The gallery understands this is an important decision and the impact it will have on the city. That’s why they’re encouraging residents to step forward and share their thoughts.

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“I think given the controversy out in the community shows how important it is. Being a mental health project through the visual arts, it’s brought to light a lot of controversy that surprised a lot of people.”

The survey is open to residents until July 5 at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. Once the gallery collects the findings of the survey they will present them to city council.

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