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Esquimalt church celebrates mural with block party

Esquimalt resident and professional muralist Kris Friesen selected artist

Nicole Crescenzi/Contributor

After years of planning, an Esquimalt church’s dreams of a mural have finally come together, and to celebrate it’s hosting an all-inclusive block party.

The Esquimalt United Church, which also hosts the community’s Rainbow Kitchen, first had the idea of a mural six years ago after the volunteer renovation group, HeroWork, updated the Rainbow Kitchen, which offers meals and community for anyone who comes through the door.

For a while the project was put on the back burner, but this spring the church decided it was time.

“We wanted to show on the outside of the building what we believe, without people having to come in to find out. And we also wanted to be creative and artistic,” said Amy Campbell, a member of the mural committee.

“We did an invitation to apply, and also researched muralists we’d seen around town and invited them for a proposal with themes: hospitality, inclusivity and oneness with creation including environmental justice.”

The selected artist was Esquimalt resident and professional muralist, Kris Friesen, who’s been in the business for 28 years.

“In understanding it’s a church and that their main desire was to have an inclusive celebration of Esquimalt, nature and care, I thought we’d put in a rainbow, like a rainbow bridge,” Friesen said. “There’s a creek that runs through the entire mural, following the curve is a rainbow that also serves as sheet music – since the church is quite musical – and in the background we have the Bickford Tower lighthouse, city hall, and then it blends into a forest with animals like salmon and deer.”

READ ALSO: Esquimalt food bank straining under unprecedented, pandemic-fueled ‘tidal wave’

The 36-foot wide and 20-foot tall mural is composed both on panels and directly on the wall.

To celebrate the artistic accomplishment, Esquimalt United Church held a block party on Sunday, Sept. 25.

“We believe Kris has captured our themes very well in the mural, and that we do have the best music around,” Campbell said. “It’s not your great grandmother’s church music.”

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