It’s a celebration of the present and a lesson in letting go.
The Be Here Now mural at Art Up Studios in Penticton, a collaboration of the four artists at the studio, was finished on Sept. 11. After Sunday, Sept. 13 the work on painting over it begins.
“It’s an exercise in patience, acceptance, no judgement, letting go and being in the present and the here and now,” said Derrie Selles, one of the artists at the studio. “Now, this is where it is, and tomorrow it is a different now and we’ll change it.”
Starting on Aug. 11, the mural originally read out Be Here Now in stylized text. At the end of the painting, it is much more than that, with flowers, animals, and poetry among other imagery.
The four artists took turns painting on the mural, with new art on the wall almost every day. The artists don’t know how many times some of the sections were painted over, but that is one of the points of the mural.
“The exercise was to paint whatever we wanted,” said Selles. “We could go over top of whatever we wanted, embellish, add, anything. That meant letting go. So whoever put the original part of it would have to let go of what they did.”
Selles, alongside fellow artists Lee Simmons, Bonnie Thatcher, and Christina Hughes, invited the public to come in and join them on the last days of the mural with their own contributions.
Some simply wrote a few words, while others added their own poetic touch to the mural.
“It feels so energizing and amazing,” said Tracy Berntzen, whose contribution was Help each other when we are able. “The things they can bring forward with their art.”
The idea behind the mural came out of the pervasive uncertainty that the pandemic brought with it.
“We had a few different names, but in these times where we’re not really sure what the future will hold, today is today and then tomorrow is something different,” said Selles. “You need to be able to learn to go with the flow and with life.”
The studio is open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday for people to come down and add their own touch before the mural is painted over. There are brushes and paint that the public can use, or they are welcome to simply come and take a look at the mural.
The mural will live on, and contribute to the community beyond its brief existence on the wall.
“We’ve had a professional photographer in, and we’ll be making prints of the whole thing, and snippets of smaller sections,” said Selles. “The plan is to take 50 per cent of the proceeds and donate them to a local charity that we’re all passionate about.”
The money will go towards the studio’s Art for Kids program, which uses the funds to allow kids who otherwise couldn’t afford to take a class to still take it. The prints are available for order at the studio, by phoning 250-462-8783, or online by contacting the studio through their Facebook page.
The Art Up Studios building is located at 94 Ellis Street in Penticton.
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