Mural town

DEFINITION

The modern "mural town" tourism industry began in 1982 in the Canadian town of Chemainus (Pop.3,500) on Vancouver Island. It was faced with impending economic implosion following the planned closure of the sawmill, the following year, its main source of employment. A local man, Karl Schutz, had visited Romania and noted how nuns raised funds by showing visitors the old murals in their convents. He suggested Chemainus do the same by creating its own historic murals. Today the town attracts between 350,000 and 450,000 visitors a year, thanks to its murals painted by invited contemporary artists. Some of the first murals were painted by Harry Heine, Harold Lloyd Lyon, Ernest Marza and Paul Ygartua (see all in AskART). The saw mill reopened in 1985. As of 2009 the town has 42 murals with more in the works. Other mural towns include Stony Plain, Alberta; Ely, Nevada; Ottawa, Illinois; Katikati, New Zealand; and Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland. Source: "The Chemainus Murals" (1998), by Cynthia Bunbury and Gregg Perry, published by The Chemainus Festival of the Murals Society, Chemainus, B.C. ( 90 pgs, colour). Submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke, Art Historian and Collector, West Vancouver, BC

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