On Monday morning Royal Canadian Legion Mount Benson Branch 256 first vice-president George Molnar, muralist Lauren Semple and public relations director Bill McKay (from left) announced that the Legion hall will soon be covered in 14 murals. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Legion hall to be covered in murals

Artists Lauren Semple and Alyssa Glassford to paint Mount Benson Branch 256 exterior

Nanaimo’s Royal Canadian Legion Mount Benson Branch 256 is getting a mural makeover, and community members are encouraged to help pitch in.

On Monday it was announced that muralists Lauren Semple and Alyssa Glassford of Humanity in Art will be covering the Legion building with 14 murals depicting scenes from Canadian military history from the First World War to the present day. The Legion is hoping to raise around $25,000 to fund the project, with a fundraising barbecue and dance tentatively planned for June 2.

Branch first vice-president George Molnar said the idea for the project came from branch president Joann Walton-Hatch, who was unhappy with the condition of the rear of the building.

“I look at it and I see a beautiful canvas,” Molnar said. “So I invited Lauren [from] Humanity in Art to have a look at it with me. She sees the same benefits that I see, that this could be a beacon in our community honouring people that fought for this great country.”

Last summer, Humanity in Art facilitated the painting of murals on the exterior of the A&B Sound building in downtown Nanaimo, transforming it into an “urban art gallery.” Semple said she and Glassford are proud and excited to perform a similar act upon the Legion’s walls.

“The end vision for this is one of community building,” she said. “One of veterans, families, children, students coming together in this space to experience and to remember and to learn.”

Humanity in Art is currently in the concept art stage, with painting set to begin as the funding rolls in. Branch director of public relations Bill McKay said the project will take from four to six months to complete. The signage on the front of the building will be incorporated into the mural design and the old Royal Canadian Legion livery will be updated.

“There’s going to be a scene that depicts the trenches of World War I, there’s going to be a remembrance scene with a cenotaph and poppies, we’ll feature the bomb girls and the nursing sisters, we’re going to make sure we feature aviators and mariners and all the different service members and try to honour each battalion and the service that they gave,” Semple said.

To donate to the mural project, visit www.fundmymural.ca.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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