Downtown Nanaimo ‘eyesore’ to become bright, vibrant outdoor art gallery

By Spencer SterrittApril 9, 2018 – 1:25pm

Boarded up building with graffiti and peeling paint.

Anyone interested in adding their work to the A&B Sound building can submit their work and designs online. 

Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW Staff

NANAIMO — A long-standing eyesore in downtown Nanaimo is getting a fresh coat of paint this summer.

The grey, boarded-up A&B Sound building on the corner of Terminal Ave. and Commercial St. will be covered in bright, colourful murals as part of a significant renovation project turning it into an outdoor art gallery.

“It’s big dreams,” artist Alyssa Glassford told NanaimoNewsNOW about the ambitious project.

She and Lauren Semple, together forming the Humanity in Art group, hope to have the entire building covered in crisp, clean artwork by the fall. They’ve roughly mapped out 18 spaces across the entire building for the murals and they’ll work with artists to keep their unified theme of “Clean Lines and Good Vibes.”

“It’s going to add colour and positive visuals for tourists visiting,” Semple said. “When you add street art to the backdrop of a community, it creates the start of positive foot traffic and community building right away. It becomes a point of pride.”

The goal is to turn the busy section of downtown into a bright, vibrant hub, much like they’ve done just down the street on the China Steps. Last summer, Glassford was commissioned to draw a mural of Wonder Woman and Superman looking out upon downtown.

“People were very happy to see it go up. It definitely helped the area,” Glassford said. “I think that was the start of a really good conversation for public art in Nanaimo.”

With permissions granted from the City and building owners, the first mural will hopefully be up by the May long weekend.

Anyone hoping to help add a dash of colour to downtown Nanaimo can submit their work and vision online.

There’s also a crowdfunding campaign to raise $10,000 for paint and supplies.

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