British Columbia

Okanagan artists devastated after vandals mar town mural

For months, volunteers have worked tirelessly to restore the Peachland Historic Mural. After being finished for only two weeks, the mural has been marred by graffiti. 

'I was just crushed. I couldn't believe my eyes,' says Peachland Arts Council president

Graffiti on the beach scene portion of the mural in Peachland. (Deborah Livingstone)

For months, a group of volunteers have worked tirelessly to restore a beloved town mural in Peachland on the west side of B.C.'s Lake Okanagan. Then, just two weeks after it was finished, vandals struck, marring it with graffiti.

Now, spray-painted stick figures, hearts, black-outs and scribbles cover parts of the Peachland Historic Mural.

Deborah Livingstone, president of the Peachland Arts Council, says the vandalism is extensive and seems thought-out. She and her husband walked by the mural Monday morning when they saw the damage.

"They just really went from one end to the other, and it looks very deliberate to me," Livingstone told CBC's Daybreak South

A volunteer at work in the summer. The Peachland Historic Mural was first created in 1999, and has been touched-up over the years. (Deborah Livingstone)

Part of town history

The mural was first created in 1999 by local artist Robyn Lake. It was commissioned by the Rotary Club and features scenes of downtown Peachland, a historical school, the wharf and fruit- packing houses. 

Residents were able to pay to have their own images painted into the mural. The beach scene is made up of Peachland locals, including an image of a water skier who is a local dentist. The money paid by residents for the images helped to pay for the project.

Livingstone says there are no leads on who the vandals may be.  (Deborah Livingstone)

Livingstone says the mural is at least 45 metres long and begins at the town entrance. It was last touched up eight years ago, but the wall had begun to show serious cracks. 

So, six volunteers from the arts council logged 172 hours to fix up the mural, enhancing the colours and repairing the rough concrete wall. 

"We were really proud of what we did," said Livingstone. 

She said they were waiting for a string of warm days to come along so they could put an anti-graffiti protection product over the paint. 

Before the vandalism occurred, six volunteers from the Peachland Arts Council logged 172 hours to fix and restore the massive mural. (Deborah Livingstone)

"Everyone is just so devastated. I worked on it myself. We're just ... I was just crushed. I couldn't believe my eyes."

Livingstone says caretakers of the wall will administer a graffiti removal product, which will lift the paint underneath. Volunteers will get back to working on the mural again in the spring when the weather warms. 

Livingstone says neither the Rotary Club, arts council or police have any leads on who the vandals may be. 

With files from Daybreak South


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