Volunteers from Phoenix Society and the Downtown Surrey BIA help with the association’s fence art project along 135A Street on Wednesday (July 17). (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Whalley

Community invited to help with Downtown Surrey BIA’s fence art project

Association is hoping to change the ‘narrative’ for 135A Street with artwork

A new art project started by the Downtown Surrey BIA is hoping to “tell a positive narrative” in an area that was once known as the “Whalley Strip.”

Starting this month, the Downtown Surrey BIA is partnering with members of the community to do fence art projects in the city’s north end.

The first project will be located along 135A Street, between 106th and 108th avenues. The other will be near the temporary housing on 105th Avenue.

Bonnie Burnside, manager with the BIA, said the area has been “undergoing some major changes” since the tents were removed from 135A Street.

“It looked so barren and uninviting for anybody,” Burnside said.

READ MORE: Tents gone from Surrey’s 135A Street, but not all accepted housing: city, June 22, 2018

Maja Lampa, community engagement intern with the association, said one of the challenges for the area is “trying to tell a positive narrative.”

“There’s a lot of really great stuff happening in the area and that’s not always seen or heard about even within the area, and especially outside of the area,” Lampa told the Now-Leader. “I think this project is a really great way to begin to tell a more positive narrative, especially about an area that was known negatively as the Whalley Strip.”

Lampa said the community art project has a “few different goals.”

First, she said, is to beautify the area with art.

“We’re also looking to bring together the community, so the different sections each focus on a different community group.”

Lampa said there are three sections of different types of artwork.

One section, she said, will include pieces of wood that were painted by teens during an art drop-in at a library.

Another portion will including vinyl woven through the chainlink fence, Lampa said.

“There’s this really beautiful metaphor in that no one’s one portion of this chainlink fence is sacred because they’re all weaving in and out of each other and coming together as we’re hoping that the community will,” she said.

The third section will include artwork from East Vancouver Indigenous artist K.C. Hall, who specializes in aerosol paint and formline art.

Hall said his career as an artist started with spray paint, but he moved away from that for about five or six years while he studied First Nations art.

“And once I felt like I was kind of OK at doing it, or was given the nod from someone who does it well, then I started putting my own touch into it, like adding different things and my own elements with graffiti background.”

Hall said he is doing three different styles of a salmon trout motif, using formline art.

“The salmon trout motif is symbolic to food… Symbolically, we’re giving you food to provide for yourself. That to me is symbolic of giving what I can to Surrey; symbolically feeding them with art,” he said.

“The fish head is kind of me trying to give to the art scene in Surrey, and hoping to bring that further in and hopefully implement more artwork in Surrey.”

In trying to keep the art accessible to the community, Lampa said there is a working sessions for fence weaving on 135A Street that is open to everyone on July 17 and 31, from 1 to 4 p.m.

READ ALSO: Newton mural captures Surrey community’s past, present and future, May 9, 2019

READ ALSO: Murals ‘giving life to dark corners’ of Newton, April 18, 2018



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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K.C. Hall cuts out an ovoid for the Downtown Surrey BIA’s upcoming fence art project. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

K.C. Hall outlines an ovoid for the Downtown Surrey BIA’s upcoming fence art project. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

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