Online fundraiser launches after Squamish mural defaced

Support needed to redo downtown flamingo mural and plan for a new one

Many hours go into painting the colourful, artistic murals in Squamish and now many more hours — and cash — are being put into restoring a prominent one, after vandals hit.

The Baz One mural, by painter Barry Carolan on the former Lotus Garden building in downtown Squamish, was recently tagged with silver spraypaint, much to the chagrin of Stan Matwychuk, the local artist and organizer behind the Squanderer Mural Festival that first brought the mural to Cleveland Avenue about a year ago.

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Originally, a Mexican restaurant with a flamingo theme was supposed to go in on the building, which is why the colourful mural theme was painted in 2018, but the business never opened.

Graffiti tagging on public property is one thing, he said, but doing it on private property like this is more problematic.

"There has been some writing and it has been frustrating. There are not budgets for that — for the maintenance."

Matwychuk cleaned up the original vandalism on the mural he saw there in the summer, but more recently an even more and bigger graffiti appeared, in addition to profanity.

The spray paint can't be cleaned off, the mural has to be refurbished, he said.

"We are basically redoing the mural," he said. "It is like house paint on the side of a wall so when someone messes it up you have to just reapply."

With the Santa Parade scheduled for Nov. 30, it is more of an urgent matter, he said, as he doesn't like the idea of all the families coming down to see the parade — always a large, community-building event — and having to look at the negative vandalism. The Squamish Arts Council has launched a Go Fund Me called "Fix our Downtown Mural."

to both raise money for the repairs and for a future mural to be created in the spring or summer, 2020 during the next Squanderer Mural Festival.

Though the details have yet to be worked out, this new mural will be done by local artists and involve Squamish Youth.

There is nothing written in stone, but usually graffiti artists respect murals and don't tag them, he added, so he also hopes to educate the community so this doesn't happen again.

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