‘Vibrant and inspiring’: New mural outside Nanaimo library celebrates community, art

'Vibrant and inspiring': New mural outside Nanaimo library celebrates community, art
Photo: VIRL
A new mural from artists Lauren Semple and Lys Glassford is outside the Vancouver Island Regional Library in downtown Nanaimo. The project, featuring big, colourful books and a nod to a local composer, was officially unveiled Friday, Aug. 25, 2023.

There’s a new story to tell in downtown Nanaimo with the completion of a giant, sidewalk-to-roof mural outside the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library.

The mural, called “The Bookshelf,” was painted by artists Lauren Semple and Lys Glassford. The duo from Nanaimo’s Humanity in Art “aim to rehabilitate urban spaces with big art,” according to Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL).

The library’s manager says the project marks a new chapter for the building’s exterior, which is located at 90 Commercial St. in downtown Nanaimo.

“This project has been four years in the making, and so we have been especially excited to see this mural unfold over the past few weeks and transform into something vibrant and inspiring for the community,” said Lee Losell.

The mural was made possible by a grant through the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative by Community Foundations of Canada and The Nanaimo Foundation, says VIRL in a news release, adding it commissioned the project earlier this year.

Staff say they’re “thrilled” it’s finally done.

But never judge a book by its cover — the mural doesn’t just add a splash of colour and creativity to the city’s downtown but also honours a composer with local roots.

“Because the mural faces the Diana Krall Plaza, a large musical element has been added, featuring music by Christine Jensen, a Nanaimo-born, Juno-winning jazz artist,” added VIRL in the release.

“Those paying particular attention to the mural may also enjoy a few whimsical treasures hidden throughout.”

On Friday, Semple and Glassford, VIRL staff, Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Lisa Maria Barron and others attended a mural unveiling outside the library.

“Humanity In Art has done it again. What an amazing mural in collaboration with Vancouver Island Regional Library bringing light into downtown Nanaimo,” wrote Barron on her Facebook page.

“I was so happy to take part today in the unveiling of this mural and to celebrate community and art.”


Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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