Nanaimo’s downtown Pride mural may have been destroyed, but its creators promise a bigger and brighter mural will take its place in a new, permanent location.
On July 3 the rainbow crosswalk at Commercial and Bastion streets and the mural on the Wallace Street side of the old A&B Sound building were smeared with black paint in an act police are investigating as a hate crime. The next day, Lys Glassford of Humanity in Art, the duo that painted the mural, posted a GoFundMe fundraiser for a new, permanent mural and after one week the $5,000 goal was reached and exceeded.
“It was incredible to have the amount of community support that we did … it was really wonderful,” Glassford said.
Lauren Semple, the other half of Humanity in Art, said the mural was always intended to be temporary, as the A&B Sound building is “destined for development,” but it was “heartbreaking” to so see it go because of vandalism.
“We knew it’d either have to get fixed or the mural had to be taken down as soon as possible so that more youths and vulnerable people in our community wouldn’t be exposed to the act of hate,” Semple said.
She said due to the condition of the building the mural cannot be restored, so they decided on covering up the mural to disguise the vandalism and are setting their sights on creating a new mural elsewhere.
“The condition of the building is pretty old. It’s probably not going to stand up to power washing and we need quite a bit of repainting to take it back to where it was,” Semple said. “And so Lys and I were talking and decided that it would be a better use of our community resources and energy to turn our attention to finding a new, more permanent mural spot.”
Glassford said they’re currently in the process of finding a new wall and the money raised will go towards supplies, equipment and protective coating.
“Once we do find a permanent location we’re going to invite others, especially the youths in our 2SLGBTQ community, to come and help us create this mural,” they said. “We really want it to be a community collaboration and we’re going to donate our time as muralists to help this come to life.”