The City of Selkirk is shining a light on an iconic landmark that will soon allow folks to tap into the rich culture and history of our fine city.
The city’s logo was painted at the top of the water tower along with artwork reflective of the Selkirk brand last year and a mural depicting our past, present and future will soon be completed at the base of the tower. It will be a place where people – residents and visitors – can visit, take selfies and learn more about Selkirk.
“We’re proud of the water tower, it’s been a recognizable Selkirk landmark for decades and now with our logo on top and a mural that will tell the city’s story coming to the base, we want to light it up,” said Mayor Larry Johannson.
“The mural is going to be eye catching and we know it will attract people. Areas that are lit up are safer and the lights deter vandalism. We want as many people as possible to enjoy our latest work of public art and lighting will allow for that.”
Showing support through first lighting
The first lighting of the water tower lights is however, a somber occasion.
The newly installed lights are now bathing the water tower in yellow and blue to show support for the people of Ukraine.
Johannson said the city envisioned using the lights to mark important occasions, and the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine are being felt the world over.
“It’s a small gesture to show the people of Selkirk stand with the people of Ukraine,” Johannson said.
Dan McDermid, the city’s Director of Operations, said the project is part of the 2022 budget.
“The lights will show the great job that’s been done with the water tower, top and bottom, and will showcase another mural, which the city is becoming known for,” said Dan McDermid, the city’s Director of Operations.
The new lighting system will project light on the base of the tower to ensure the future mural will be visible after sunset and will project beams of light up the neck of the tower. These beams will be remotely controlled and have the ability to project any colour or a combination of colours.
City seeking artist submissions
The city is currently engaging with muralists and has made a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) available now through April 22 at www.myselkirk.ca/watertowermural. Artists that can demonstrate experience with a comparable mural project of a similar scale are invited to submit samples of past work and qualifications to the city.
CAO Duane Nicol said the water tower is a permanent ambassador for Selkirk and the artwork that will decorate its base must align with the city’s image.
“The Selkirk water tower is an iconic, and much-loved part of our city scape. It is a piece of critical infrastructure, but it’s also part of our cultural infrastructure. It provides a vital service, and it adds to the character of our community,” Nicol said.
“Cultural and social infrastructure are every bit as important as cement and pipes. People make a community – roads and water systems only serve it. Adding a mural and interpretive signage are investments into our cultural infrastructure. It’s not just city building, it’s community building.”
Civic pride will shine
Communities across the globe are making use of lights to demonstrate civic pride and Selkirk will do this as well by developing a policy that guides usage of the lights. Similar to the “Winnipeg” sign at the Forks, the water tower will be able to be lit up in different colours and patters to mark special occasions or recognize and honour specific campaigns.
“The lights can be used during local festivals, to celebrate our city’s cultural diversity or the local sports team winning a championship,” said Culture Coordinator Ellie Longbottom.
Selkirk has seen a stream of murals pop up throughout the downtown over the past few years and each tells its own unique story.
“Murals are an increasingly popular public art form that add life and tell a story in an area,” Longbottom said.
“Our community has some really creative people and there is interesting told and untold stories that I hope to see shine through in the upcoming proposals.”
The complete restoration of the water tower, including the fresh coat of paint, aligns with the city’s Strategic Plan by practicing good environmental stewardship and maintaining a reliable water supply, revitalizing Selkirk’s image and capitalizing on the city’s tourism potential.