After much jockeying back and forth, the much anticipated mural project at City Park has been put on hold.
At the Oct. 6 regular council meeting, Grand Forks city council rejected the latest proposal from the mural committee asking for $6,000 for the project.
The plan was to have local artists paint a mural on two sides (one each building) on the walls of the washroom and lift station at City Park.
Councillor Gary Smith, who sat on the committee as a representative for council (along with Michael Wirischagin), said the group wanted to the city to pay for a project coordinator.
“They wanted to pay for a coordinator and we basically said this isn’t quite what we initially talked about, so we declined,” he said.
Smith said the project was originally supposed to be all volunteers with the artists giving up their time.
“The city was to supply paint and scaffolding and that kind of thing,” he said. “No one was to be paid at all.”
Adding to the bedlam was the fact that Benson Musaev, who was instrumental in forming the committee, moved away recently leaving the committee without a leader.
The proposal to council stated that the committee met on Sept. 18 and discussed what was needed to move the project forward “after an apparent stall.”
The main roadblocks were defined as: difficulty with the support surface, compensation for a project manager, and purchase of the rights of replication for original artwork for the mural.
The new asking cost of $6,000 would include $1,200 for a project manager and $800 for an art honourarium for the rights to reproduce the artwork. The rest ($4,000) would go towards supplies.
Mayor Brian Taylor said that the next council will likely revisit the mural project in the spring.
“There are some people who would like us to sit down right after the election and start planning for next year,” he said. “There are artists who would like to see us recognize and respect the artist’s time and not simply ask for volunteers to do it. I agree with that. I think it’s the kind of service we need to value from our community.”
Taylor said that artist impressions such as the mural project are things that the city should be prepared to pay for.
“The complications they ran into with that first project realizing they couldn’t work on that rough surface (on the walls of the two buildings) they had to deal with threw a big wrench into their plans and also put their budget off track,” he said. “It’s so off track at this point a fresh start in the spring is what we need to do.”