11 years later, EMCS Art project still stops bus shelter vandalism in Sooke


WATCH: Vandalism is a reality in many public spaces, especially at bus stops. But as Luisa Alvarez tells us, Edward Milne Community School in Sooke put a stop to the bus shelter vandalism in its downtown core using art. 

The bus shelters in Sooke’s downtown core used to be targets of vandalism.

“The glass was kicked out or it was tagged,” said Edward Milne Community School (EMCS) art teacher Sue Garat.

Garat said educational assistant Sue Percival came up with a way to reduce vandalism in Sooke, and beautify the downtown core using student artwork.

“When people put art on walls it’s respected, people honour the time it takes for the artist to create it and the beautification it provides. It’s just a respect for it,” said Garat.

The idea blossomed eleven years ago and Garat said it continues to work.

“It hasn’t been vandalized since we put art in it then,” said Garat.

The bus shelter project has no plans of stopping. The District of Sooke makes sure there is a grant to help fund the project every year.

“It shows a sense of community and I think people are always excited to see something different in their town,” said EMCS student Karyl Musfelttrivino.

Most of the work is from EMCS students but other schools in the community have also gotten opportunities to participate.

“Any time when you can include more members of the community in any project I think its a good thing its a sense of ownership its a sense of pride its a sense of community,” said Garat.

The shelters display anywhere from 12 to 24 pieces of student-made art at a time, which are usually acrylic paintings on canvas. They’re switched out four times a year and Musfelttrivino, who is charge of choosing the art, said its impacts have really shown.

“Especially when we put in younger kids art they put like handprints up and they all get really excited to show their parents that their artwork was shown throughout all of Sooke,” said Musfelttrivino.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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