Vegreville has just completed the latest addition of the Paint the Town Initiative.
This new installation pays homage to Vegreville’s Ukrainian culture and heritage. People can view the mural at 5017-50 Street, downtown Vegreville.
Josh Harnack, an Edmonton-based artist, says the mural concept showcases a motanka doll guiding an elk through the prairies.
“The motanka doll in this mural not only symbolizes Vegreville’s Ukrainian Heritage but also as a protector of the land and its inhabitants, particularly the Elk. In Albertan aboriginal culture, the elk is not only a good omen but is a survivor and protector as well. The two walking peacefully together symbolize a larger and more contemporary meaning of future prosperity and the shared responsibility of taking care of the land in which both humanity and nature need to survive,” Harnack says. “The Elk’s antlers boast the ribbons of the vinook, similar to the ones in the motanka doll, symbolizing the acceptance and welcoming of culture. To add to this, the background of the mural serves as a Ukrainian flag, symbolizing land and sky.”
This is the fourth installment in the initiative and brings the total number of public art murals in Vegreville to 11. The Paint the Town mural initiative commenced in 2019 as a way to bring more tourism to the downtown area.
Anya Langkow, the tourism, recreation, and culture coordinator for Vegreville, says everyone has enjoyed the new art piece.
“I think everyone has enjoyed something fresh, bright and beautiful to look at. It has provoked conversations and we have seen lots of selfies on social media with people posing in front of the art.”
Langkow says she would like to see the initiative continue.
“We have a lot of blank spaces that could use a facelift and anytime you bring something to a community like art, you are adding to the cultural aesthetic and economic vitality of that community.”
When asked if the Paint the Town Initiative had a noticeable effect, she said it is hard to find a direct correlation with these types of projects but the town has been seeing an increase in activity downtown.