Regional district will adorn office with First Nations artwork

Expression of interest will call for Coast Salish First Nations art to be crafted or purchased

The Regional District of Nanaimo board is working on adorning its Hammond Bay Road headquarters with a $30,000 First Nations art installation.

An expression of interest has been drafted, which will call for one to three pieces of Coast Salish First Nations art to be crafted or purchased for a total of $30,000.

Bill Veenhof, RDN board chairman, and directors Alec McPherson and Howard Houle will be part of a selection committee in addition to representatives from Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Naw-As and Qualicum First Nations.

Houle first pitched the idea in 2015 and said he thought it would be good to have recognition of First Nations in the regional district administration building. RDN residents are coming into the building to conduct business and it would show there is a relationship with First Nations, he said.

Houle said letters have been sent to the three First Nations recently and work will begin after the committee is formed.

The art could consist of a totem pole, sculpture or a modern art medium and the committee will discuss themes for the art as well. Houle hopes reconciliation will be a part of it.

“I don’t have any preconceived notions about what it’ll be,” said Houle. “Once we get it down to the point where we’ve selected an artist, there’ll be a long conversation about how we feel about it, what it will represent. What it is? That will be up to the artist.”