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Local artists unveil mural

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Local artists, from left to right, Mike Blume, Lee Beaton and Suzy Laevens stand in front of the mural the three painted at a public unveiling outside of the BDO Centre Friday morning. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

Local artists, from left to right, Mike Blume, Lee Beaton and Suzy Laevens stand in front of the mural the three painted at a public unveiling outside of the BDO Centre Friday morning. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

It wasn't gold but Portage's BDO Centre received quite the anniversary present to commemorate the rink's 50th year and Canada's 150th birthday.

An 8-foot by 40-foot mural – hung on the outside of the arena - was unveiled to the public Friday morning in Portage la Prairie featuring many local influences. Recreational Opportunities for Kids (ROK), along with the help of three local artists and a handful of area youth designed and painted the mural, which was funded via a Canada 150 grant obtained by ROK executive director Lynne Parker.

“This is actually the first time we've seen this in one piece. We're pretty happy with it, a lot of hours went into it,” says Suzy Laevens, who - along with Mike Blume and Lee Beaton – combined forces to tackle the major project that took an estimated 500 man hours to complete. “I've never worked on such a large scale before, nor have the three of us worked together before, so I think overall we did really well.”

After consulting with local teens to decide a theme and ideas to include in the mural, Blume, Beaton and Leavens set out to design images on a computer before having them blown up to current proportions. A hockey player resembling a Portage Terrier, a Canadian flag, a train and rail line and a zamboni are just a few of the many local, Canadian influences that can be found on the artwork.

The trio began the planning stages earlier in the summer and didn't put brush to canvas until mid to late August.

“We all work and have crazy hours so getting us all together at the same time didn't always work but we made it work,” adds Beaton.



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