I first came up with the idea of a “Queering Rossland” mural after learning about some research that had been done in collaboration with young women and queer youth in Rossland, which highlighted a lack of LGBTQ representation in public spaces in our community. It was shortly after this research was presented to me at Rossland City Council that I connected with a muralist who was interested in bringing more public art to Rossland and, coincidentally, also came across a call for applications from NSG. The muralist, Lauren, and I came up with a plan to engage with queer youth and community leaders in Rossland to design a mural that brought LBGTQ representation to a public space in Rossland and the project was made possible by NSG who generously accepted our application.
In early 2023, we launched the project. It became clear early on in our engagements that the Youth Action Network (YAN) building would make a perfect home for the mural. The building was in a great location (on a major road leading in and out of town), it was sporting a damaged mural that needed updating, and the YAN crew were leaders in LGBTQ inclusive programming in the community and clearly deserved to benefit from this project.
Once we identified the YAN building as the location for the mural, we started working with a group of eight middle- and high-school aged LBGTQ youth and allies who made up the YAN “Queer Club”. We hosted two engagements with the Queer Club over the course of the winter, first to come up with a general concept for the mural and the second to design a symbol that could be incorporated into the mural to represent the youth who were involved. The group decided they wanted the mural to include mountains, bright colours with a rainbow incorporated into the design, and purple (an important colour in the LGBTQ community) butterflies to represent their group. While they wanted the mural to be an expression of queer joy, it was also important to the group that the mural felt inclusive of everyone and celebratory of all of the youth who accessed the YAN building. The muralist then took these ideas and designed the mural, which took a total of seven days to paint and included an afternoon of painting, dancing, and celebrating with the Queer Club. On the last day of pride month (June 30) the mural was installed onto the YAN building for everyone to enjoy!
Project Leader: Maya Provencal