Residents throughout town are raving about the new mural that was painted over the old kiosk at Jim Koe Park, a project and vision that was brought to life by local youth from the Inuvik Youth Centre.
“Since we did this project, we put it up on Facebook and it’s gone viral all over,” said Tony Devlin, the executive director at the Youth Centre. “From every walk of life, people commented about how needed this was, what it changes and how it freshens things up. How we’ve taken an old fallen down building and really given it new life.”
The youth centre’s Facebook post was immediately met with positive feedback, garnering more than 120 reactions and over 60 shares.
“I can’t find the words to express how I feel about the project, so inspiring and a job well done,” wrote a resident. “What a wonderful job. This is definitely one of the nicest focal points in our beautiful town,” said another.
One community member even described the mural as “a beautiful face lift for this building.”
Devlin said that one of the goals of the mural was to not only create a space to show off the community and culture, but to also offer a new “Instagram spot” in town.
“It created yet another opportunity for tourists to enjoy our community. We tried to make something that certainly would be Instagram friendly so people would want to take pictures next to it,” he said.
He added that the mural was a huge hit for community members during Inuvialuit Day celebrations at Jim Koe Park on June 5.
“Our sort of test was Inuvialuit Day, and it was all day selfie, selfie, selfie outside of it, on all three sides,” he said.
The mural’s design features Drum Dancers, the Northern Lights, a grizzly bear and a giant butterfly. There’s also caribou to celebrate the town’s Gwich’in culture and a whale to represent the Inuvialuit community.
The Youth Centre commissioned members and artists from the Youth of Today Society – a youth-oriented arts program from Whitehorse, Yukon – to help flesh out the mural.
Ali Khoda, the Society’s lead artist, sat down and met with local youth at the centre before painting began. It was here where they came up with the final concept and design for the mural.
“They threw out all sorts of ideas: what the building should look like and what elements to incorporate into it. They worked with Ali to do a mockup of how the building should look, the placement and how they’re going to integrate everything,” said Devlin.
The group began working on the mural on May 30 and were finished by June 4. There were around five or six youth from the Youth Centre who were there everyday helping Khoda complete the project.
“This building was 100 per cent the ideas of our youth. They put the ideas together,” said Devlin. “These guys came up with a blank slate and the youth said this is what they would like to see.”