Public consultation begins for downtown Vernon art murals
The Vernon Public Art Gallery (VPAG) is asking the public to explore and have their say on ‘Behind the mask as the gallery hosts a community consultation that includes viewing proposed art to adorn buildings in downtown Vernon.
‘Behind the Mask’ is a three-part public art project in which eight Vernon people living with mental health issues and two local support professionals express who they are and how they want the community to see them through masks – the ones they made, wrote about in creation, and later wore in photographs taken in settings of their choice in Vernon.
“Recognizing how much of an issue mental health has become due to COVID, we wanted to create dialogue around mental health using visual arts as a language, and create awareness in a positive and engaging way” , says Dauna Kennedy, Executive Director, Vernon Public Art Gallery. “We hope people will come to the exhibit and reflect on these characters, and each person behind these masks.”
As the project approaches its third and final phase – the installation of murals featuring the participants and their masks, VPAG has been asked by the City of Vernon to give the public the opportunity to learn more about the project and give their opinion. With the Behind the Mask exhibit now on view, Vernon residents have a unique chance to see the art before it becomes the murals at the 10 proposed sites. As part of the education and consultation process, from June 21 to July 5, after viewing the exhibit, guests are invited to pick up a tablet in the gallery and complete a survey.
“We’ve already had a tremendous response from our community and the social services community about the importance of shedding light on mental health issues, and we’re seeing that as more people visit the exhibit , they really learn about the people behind the masks and the very uplifting intent and results of this public art project, that it gives people a broader perspective,” says Kennedy, “but we have a short window to move this forward, bring it to life and make Vernon realize the many benefits to the economy, community and culture.
To learn more about the project, the participants, the funding and the public art process, visit https://www.vernonpublicartgallery.com/behind-the-mask