WATCH: A longtime eyesore of downtown Nanaimo is getting an overhaul to transform it into an urban art gallery.The empty and aging A & B Sound building sits on one of that city’s busiest intersections at Terminal Avenue and Commercial street. Now with the help of artists and hundreds of cans of spray paint, it’s about to take on a whole new look.
Artists Lauren Semple and Alyssa Glassford can’t wait to get their hands on a Nanaimo eyesore.
“To really clean this area up,” said Humanity in Art‘s Lauren Semple. “It’s going to be bright, beautiful colour from ground to the top of this wall,” said the Nanaimo artist.
“This is a very prominent corner of our downtown that is in dire need of some attention.”
The closed up A & B Sound building on the downtown’s busiest corner has sat empty for a decade but is now just weeks from being overhauled by the expert hands of seven Nanaimo artists that with hundreds of cans of spray paint, boxes of markers and pallets of paint will transform it into an urban art gallery.
“We’re actually covering the entire street level with murals,” said Semple.
“It will be like nothing that Nanaimo has seen so far,” said Semple’s partner in Humanity in Art Alyssa Glassford. “So the different mediums are going to completely accent each other but there’ll be a style for everybody.”
The duo organizing this is behind some iconic street art in Nanaimo, the spray painted Superman and Lois Lane mural on Lois Lane in the downtown, and Wisteria Lane’s colourful graffiti art that transformed this alley into an art walk.
“It has been about taking urban areas that are unloved and don’t quite get the attention that they need,” said Smeple, “And instead of avoiding them and sprawling away from them it’s about moving into them and taking them back as community spaces.”
The public art installation on the old A & B Sound building has already fundraised $7500 of their $10,000 goal to make the artists vision come to life, but will be a temporary installation.
The owner of the building tells CHEK News they are looking to re-develop it into a residential block and since it is not suitable for leasing in its current state a demolition will be in order though that is likely years away.
For these Nanaimo artists though it is not about how long the art that’s scheduled to begin on May long weekend lasts, but that it brings a community together instead of all looking away from an eyesore.