Down with the old mural, up with the new rec centre

Photo of the Port Coquitlam public art piece, 2003 participants is July 25

In 2003, after the Port Coquitlam recreation complex expanded, the city commissioned a public artwork to mark the milestone.

Now, with the rebuild of the entire structure, the mural is coming down.

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Titled Work/Creation, the 10-by-30-foot wooden mural was created by artists Richard Tetrault and Dan Bushnell as a reflection of PoCo’s past.

The “dimensional diagram,” as Tetrault calls it, includes general themes of industry and activity around the city: First Nations carving, steelworkers, river tugs and rail tracks.

There are also images of a mother and child, wildlife and someone working on a computer.

But Tetrault and Bushnell weren’t the only ones involved in the project.

About two dozen residents answered an open call to be part of the design workshops.

A local wood carving guild also lent hands to build the side panels with yellow cedar.

The tile pieces were then hand carved and screwed and glued into place onto the wall, Tetrault recalled.

“The idea was the recreation centre is a popular space and we customized the artwork for that space,” he told The Tri-City News last week.

On July 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tetrault will dismantle the mural to make way for the new Port Coquitlam community centre.

He’s unsure how many pieces can be saved but those that are undamaged may be repurposed at the newly renovated and renamed facility. “It’s a shame but it will be born in another place,” he said.

Robi Smith, PoCo’s new arts and culture co-ordinator, is working with Tetrault to figure out the best way to remove the mural.

But before it comes down, the city is calling for former community participants to say goodbye to the original artwork and to pose for pictures.

Photographer Byron Dauncey will document the farewell Thursday, July 25 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Call Robi Smith 604-927-8443 or email smithr@portcoquitlam.ca for more details. 

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