What do garbage collection, street art, and work to address youth homelessness have in common? These three topics are part of a new collaboration between the City of Kamloops, the Downtown and North Shore Business Improvement Associations, local street artists, and youth at risk to bring about Art Bins.
Art Bins are an extension of an earlier partnership between the City’s Sanitation Section and local street artist Landon Muzio, who joined forces in June to paint a downtown alley garbage bin that was repeatedly a target for graffiti and vandalism. Response to the artwork was overwhelmingly positive, and now an additional eight City-owned yellow garbage bins located in the Downtown and on the North Shore will be painted by street artists, each of whom will have local youth helping them throughout the process.
On August 28, 2019, the group of artists, including Muzio, will gather at the City’s Civic Operations Centre along with youths from the A Way Home and Interior Community Services programs to spend the day painting the bins and learning about each other’s experiences.
“The opportunity for growing this into a positive community initiative has brought together a number of stakeholders who have a vision for using the bins as canvases for public art rather than objects to vandalize,” said Marcia Dick, the City’s Solid Waste Services Analyst, who helped organize the first Art Bin. “Equally important is the chance for talented street artists to mentor youth at risk who have an interest in art and can be part of this project.”
Over the summer, stakeholders, including representatives from the City’s Sanitation; Social and Community Development; and Arts, Culture, and Heritage sections as well as the Downtown and North Shore Business Improvement Associations and a group of street artists discussed expanding the project and identified grant opportunities that supported mentorship, arts and culture, and the issue of youth at risk.
“The result of these conversations is a mentorship opportunity funded by the Community Action Initiative through the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and the Overdose Emergency Response Centre. The funds were allocated to this project by The Community Action Team to help support youth exiting street life," said Natalie Serl, the City’s Social and Community Development Supervisor.
The $2,500 grant will fund artists, supplies, and equipment for painting the eight garbage bins. Once complete, the group will work with the business improvement associations and businesses to identify locations for the Art Bins. Youth participating in the painting will also be given a tour of the Civic Operations centre and provided lunch and refreshments throughout the day.