A petition for controversial murals in the city of Vernon has been launched.
A statement on the pro-mural petition launched by Kimberly Fuller said: “We, the Vernon community who support the arts, support ‘Behind the Mask’ murals because they represent a missing local perspective. The subjects in these murals are residents of Vernon. During Turning Points Collaborative Society workshops, these individuals created their own personalized masks. Then they chose the location of their photos. These are intimate portraits. They deserve respect. They deserve to be seen.”
Katie Green, the artist behind the concept, created a series of “Behind the Mask” murals in Calgary in 2019.
“We believe that Vernon should welcome artists from different communities. We believe that art in Vernon should reflect the diversity of our residents. We welcome alternative stories. We welcome art that challenges us. Now is the time for Vernon to take public art to the next level with projects like ‘Behind the Mask’.
By Saturday afternoon, the pro-mural petition change.org had garnered 118 signatures.
A petition was launched a few days ago to stop the “scary clown mask murals” being installed, and it has reached nearly 2,000 signatures.
As of Saturday noon, the change.org petition launched by Sharmay Taylor has generated 1,979 names against the Behind the Mask project.
In her petition against murals, Taylor states: “The murals are both expensive and unattractive. They are scary to me so I can imagine they would be scary for young children. The art is not even completed by local artists. I ask that you sign this petition so that the public and residents of Vernon can have their say on whether or not we want these horrific murals on buildings in our city.
There has been no consultation and the public has not even had a chance to comment on the murals. We are not asking for a referendum, just that you use the same consultation process you have used in the past on major construction projects. The people of Vernon deserve a voice in changes like this in our city.”
Since the news of the $33,000 council approval for the project — which also received $55,500 through the Canada Council for the Arts — social media has been abuzz with reports of the murals, many calling them “disturbing.”
The Behind the Mask murals would blend in with the parkade, the Civic Memorial Park, the downtown public laundry room, the Vernon Community Arts Center, the Upper Room Mission, the Turning Points Collaborative Society, and other locations.
count. Scott Anderson pushed for public consultation on the project but was voted out of the council.
The murals would be created by Green and are part of a mental health storytelling process.
Participants were photographed wearing their handmade masks in a setting of their choice, and the photos, which will be displayed in the Vernon Public Art Gallery, form the basis for the murals.