June 13th, 2024

Mural celebrates youth activism, artistry and environmentalism

By Dale Woodard on August 14, 2021.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard - Artists (left to right) Grace Fletcher, Sydney Whiting and Kyra Peake stand in front of their mural which was unveiled on the south patio at the Galt Museum Thursday afternoon.

A brand new mural with a positive message will grace the south patio at the Galt Museum and Archives.
Celebrating International Youth Day Thursday, the Galt unveiled a new mural, designed by local artists Sydney Whiting, Kyra Peake and Grace Fletcher.
The mural seeks to demonstrate the rich connections between youth activism, artistry and environmentalism and highlights the Lethbridge landscape, said Whiting, the director of Youth + Local Action for the Climate Hub of Southern Alberta.
“That was a message to craft on why we’re doing the mural and why this format,” she said. “It was a very cool opportunity, myself not being much of an artist, to find other artists that wanted to use that medium to communicate a bigger message. So us collaborating and trying to create the design was a very fulfilling part of this entire journey and then coming together and having a splash of ideas was exciting. To be able to pursue and become an environmentalist is a self-proclaimed title, but it’s something I’m trying to find innovative ways to do and to keep up with my own work and within the community.”
The project is supported by the Climate Hub of Southern Alberta with funding for the initiative made possible through the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation, TakingITGlobal #RisingYouth Grants and the Government of Canada.
“This is a year in the making, so it’s exciting to see it up and out of storage,” said Whiting, the project lead and climate advocate in addition to being director with the Climate Hub of Southern Alberta. “The message very much remains the same. Coming out of the September 2019 climate strikes we really wanted to see an alternative form of activism, especially when COVID-19 hit. I wanted to continue the dialogue surrounding climate renewable energy and how southern Alberta, specifically, can act within that realm of climate activism. So the mural seeks to do that.”
Whiting said the artists started off asking what they could do as individuals and then branched into how their collective actions support the cause.
“My personal biggest takeaway is to get involved with other people in the community,” she said. “So the project is supported by the Climate Hub of Southern Alberta, but there are some amazing folks doing amazing things in the community that doesn’t have to be one organization. The collective is what makes the magic.”
In designing the mural, Whiting said they wanted to centre around the local landscape.
“So we featured our southern Alberta coulees and our little hut you can see right from the Galt. That was a last-minute add, but we wanted to speak to the joy we have in being in southern Alberta and Lethbridge and then highlighting the forms of renewable energy that are most strongly centred around Lethbridge and area. So (it’s) big windmills and how your words and actions can be power to those windmills that’s an element we really tried to include in the design.”
The mural will be up at the Galt Museum and Archives for the next three months.
“Being able to showcase the mural today and over the next several months, especially launching on International Youth Day, is incredibly important for us because at The Galt Museum and Archives we continually strive to provide opportunities for people of all ages to express themselves as well as have different ideas and ways to express themselves,” said Darrin Martens, CEO and Executive Director of the Galt Museum and Archives. “So being able to provide that opportunity is of critical importance to us and it’s part of our mission and our mandate.”
When considering the mural, Martens said he was intrigued by how the young artists were looking at a new way of addressing an issue that has been around for quite some time.
“Their creativity and ingenuity and really rooting it to southern Alberta and in particular, Lethbridge, there are images that are part of the mural that are very iconic to us,” he said. “So that resonated as this global issue and problem is spoken to from a very local level. Seeing that, I thought we absolutely have to showcase this at the Galt because we’re interested in dealing with issues and ideas. Having this mural on display creates dialogues and that’s one of the things we’re proud to do and want to encourage people to have more dialogue.”
The Climate Hub of Southern Alberta, connected through the University of Lethbridge, is just starting up and looking for members, said Whiting.
“We’re always looking for people who want to contribute to this work and find passion within this realm. I look forward to those collaborations.”
The Climate Hub of Southern Alberta can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/climatehubsa.

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