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Richmond resident advocates for more murals in the city

A “mural corridor” could be possible in Richmond if property owners stepped forward.

The City of Richmond has the potential to develop a “mural corridor” if community members contributed a wall for the city’s annual Community Mural Program, according to resident Winston Sayson.

Sayson, who has lived in the city for 40 years, didn’t pay much attention to murals until he recently retired and began noticing the potential they had in bringing people together.

“I began collecting images of the incredible collection of murals in Vancouver and thought that because I live in Richmond I should do it for Richmond instead,” said Sayson, adding that murals “evoked a sense of inclusion.”

“However, I was so surprised by how few (large-scale murals) we have in our own backyard.”

Sayson told the Richmond News that he hopes to encourage more business owners to come out and donate space.

“When owners of businesses donate a wall to the city for murals, it shows the businesses really care about Richmond,” he said.

“We have the opportunity to do this and I hope more owners can be inspired to come forward to beautify our city.”

According to the City of Richmond’s Public Art department, which manages the mural program, it received six applications from local property owners to host an artist mural in 2020 and 11 applications for 2021.

City spokesperson Andrea Lee said the number of mural projects is determined by staff during the site selection process and if they can be accommodated within the annual $30,000 budget.

The budget, said Lee, covered the cost for three commissioned murals at West Richmond Community Centre, Richmond Curling Club and Richmond Ice Centre this year.

While the number of murals for 2021 has yet to be determined, the Public Art Program has already pre-approved 25 artists for the 2020 to 2021 mural roster.

Despite the 30 or so murals Sayson has already found in Richmond, including ones done by schools, he envisioned the possibility of a “mural corridor” or an art district in the city.

“Murals capture moments in history that becomes educational and is a reminder to our community of what is important and how Richmond is part of it,” said Sayson, adding that the large scale paintings express values of inclusivity and connectivity.

“These projects also give a podium to showcase young artists and to celebrate and recognize the talents that they have to give the city a voice.”

When asked where he would like to see a mural in the city, he responded Aberdeen Centre.

While the mall is known to cater mainly to the Asian population, Sayson said he could imagine a mural that would bridge a gap in the different cultures across the city.