It’s been a long time coming and just by looking at the Selkirk Water Tower, you can tell it was time for a facelift.
“We can all agree that the current state of this iconic piece of our landscape does not embody the new energy and enthusiasm in our community. This year, we plan to change that,” said Mayor Larry Johannson.
A difficult choice to make
From February 12 – March 17 the city received over 30 entries from both professional and amateur designers. With the input of community leaders in the arts, culture and heritage, city council viewed these submissions completely anonymously.
“There were so many amazing designs to choose from, we wish we had 2 or 3 water towers to show off the amazing work that was given to us,” said Johannson.
“In the end, we had to make a decision based on how it reflected our community, the feasibility of painters to paint the design, and how well it could be viewed from afar. Robyn’s design ticked all those boxes,”
Comp grad’s art to grace the Selkirk skyline
That Robyn being Robyn Kacperski, a Selkirk-raised graphic designer and a Selkirk Comprehensive High School grad who now lives in Winnipeg.
“It means a lot to have grown up here, have the skills to come back and do something really good for the community and help the community grow,” said Kacperski.
The design uses the cities brand elements around the top portion of the tower, with the city’s logo painted on opposite sides around the widest area. The bottom portion will be a more in-depth mural that will be painted in 2021.
“I really wanted to bring the design down. My hope is that people visiting or driving by see this large design and want to explore deeper and get more detail,” said Kacperski.
“This mural will go more into the history, the future and what it is now. People can come here, take a photo and enjoy it from street level.”
A beacon on top, mural on the bottom
Chief Administrative Officer Duane Nicol said that this functionality was a big reason council decided on this design.
“It really became clear that an artistic mural painted at the top of the water tower wouldn’t have the impact we wanted. In addition to the practical challenge of painting a mural from 135 feet in the air, some of the designs that were submitted wouldn’t have been distinguishable from a distance. We had to think ‘would it have the same effect if you’re driving down both CIL Road and down Main Street?’” said Nicol.
“I give council a lot of credit taking on what’s effectively a public art project. You can never get 100% agreement, because what is aesthetically pleasing for some may not be to others. It’s very subjective.”
Now that the design is finalized, the city released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the actual painting of the Water Tower. An RFP is currently being produced for the design of the mural portion.
“We’re also looking at some other site features that’ll make visiting the Water Tower more of an experience,” said Nicol.
“This is a clean and sharp design. It’s a strong reflection of the community renewal and regeneration we’re seeing around us. It’s truly an exciting project. We can’t wait until this is done for the community to enjoy and be proud of.”