Lauren Semple and Alyssa Glassfordweree putting the finishing touches on the last mural.

The final hour of work on a massive facelift for what has long been an eyesore in Nanaimo’s downtown.

“It’s looking way better than I imagined it would look,” said Alyssa Glassford, a Humanity in Art co-founder. “So we’re very, very excited about it.”

The building has been empty ever since the A&B Sound store closed a decade ago.

Other groups have painted it to make it more presentable but Semple and Glassford had a grand vision for these walls which they saw as giant canvasses.

They got approval from the building’s owner and found five other artists to help them.

“This is a labour of love for them. This is a labour of love for us,” said Lauren Semple, Humanity in Art‘s other co-founder.

It took $10,000 in paint and supplies to paint the 15 murals over the course of five months.

The money for the project was all raised in the community

“We wanted to remove all the financial barriers for artists to participate because painting big is expensive,” said Semple. “We also wanted to buy proper sealants and do power washing and really try to make it last and look good as long as possible.”

Those passing by are impressed by how the building looks now.

“I really like them. They’re really pretty and like it’s just something fun to look at while you’re walking around downtown,” said Morgan Benn, a Nanaimo resident.

“It feels safe, way safer,” said Tim Cariou, also a Nanaimo resident.

The artists did set aside one section of a wall for anyone who wants to add their own touch.

“There’s more than can be done with an unused space than basically just complaining about it,” said Glassford. “So instead of waiting for something to happen we just kind of went out and did it ourselves.”

And the results speak for themselves. Now they hope their work will inspire others to do the same.

Kendall Hanson