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Vancouver Arts Innovation & Business : Orcas take over Strathcona

 

Between rail yards and the clamor of the Downtown East Side, there lies an excess of concrete, industrial buildings, and bare walls. When art emerges here, it is a gift to the community of Strathcona and the city of Vancouver. The gift of public art sparks creativity and breeds innovation. Creativity and innovation nourish entrepreneurship. Therefore, murals do more than bring beauty to a neighbourhood…they also improve the socio-economic landscape of urban communities.

 

 

We recently discovered a unique gift : A local group of Vancouver youth has created an underwater oasis full of orcas. This group is lead by Todd Polich. He has been painting environmentally focused murals for the last few years. His goal has been to inspire people to take action for environmental conservation. This goal has been recently coming to fruition.

 

 

In order to create conversations about the environment, Todd has infused his mural skills into his  ‘Art of Empowerment’ youth programs. These programs teach kids about art, nature, and painting murals in meaningful spaces. He hopes that young participants will gain a renewed appreciation of the environment through the nature themed mural projects. He also enjoys the sense of pride that is instilled in youth participants.

 

 

Todd was inspired by public art as a teen and had a love for nature and the environment from camping as a child. He wants to help people realize their connection living with wildlife HERE (not separated from nature and the environment, we’re all part of it here together). Todd has witnessed his youth murals convert spaces. In one case, there was an area near a school where kids littered and threw cigarette butts on the ground. This scene changed after a nature mural was created. Through the pride and beauty of this project, the litter stopped gathering and was replaced by a new sense of respect and ownership.

 

 

The latest mural is on the Sunrise Soya building on Powell St at Hawks. Sunrise is Canada’s largest tofu manufacturer and one of Strathcona’s oldest businesses. This company is active in the Strathcona community and the Strathcona Business Improvement Association. As a business that gives back, it is fitting for this mural to come alive on the exterior of Sunrise Soya. This mural project was recently featured on CBC news. If you want to check out this video clip, please click below.