Reach for the Stars, stop # 55 in the Guide to Public Art, is a gigantic mural on the back wall of a commercial building in on Spedding Court in Rutland. Billed as Kelowna’s largest mural, it covers the entire back wall of a building, about 165 feet long and 25 feet high.
The mural faces Springvalley Middle School, and students there collaborated with artist Scott Tobin to produce colourful , graffiti-influenced flowers, bunnies, and a car. Tobin is also responsible for the Pride Mural on Water Street.
Unless you are already in fields in back of Springvalley Middle School, you’ll need to park on Spedding Court and squeeze through an opening in the fence that is, no kidding, 14 inches wide. If there’s another way in I couldn’t find it. (Be sure to leave your dog at home. We wouldn’t want dogs playing in the fields.)
The mural is fantastic, once you’re where you can see it. According to the City’s Public Art website,
Students had spent many hours cleaning up graffiti on this wall, and with Colleen’s encouragement and the support of school staff, they decided to try the idea of an aerosol art mural as a way to deter graffiti and vandalism.
Scott Tobin based the design for the mural on ideas and suggestions from students, and young people from the school’s CHOICES program worked with the artist to prepare the mural background in June, 2007. Tobin continued painting the mural throughout the summer, finally completing it in late August.
They have not been entirely successful in keeping the wall free of graffiti.
The artist’s website links to a YouTube video showing the wall being painted and Tobin commenting on the project.
If you want to have a look at the mural, park near the automotive place at 355 Spedding Court, and look for the fenced walkway. Squeeze through the fence. You’ll be facing the school. Look to your left. The mural is on the wall behind you.
Find out more about Public Art in Kelowna here. If you’re reading this before September 4, 2011, you still have time to get to the “Please Touch the Art” exhibit at the Kelowna Art Gallery. It’s a wonderful exhibit. It discusses the creating of Bear, and has inspired me to visit every piece of public art in Kelowna. Click on “Public Art” in the “What’s here” box on the right side of this page to see the other posts.