Belford partnered up with Burnaby Neighbourhood House to enlist local mural artists for the annual Burnaby Summer Street Party which customarily featured a gigantic bounce castle, a cotton candy machine, a photo booth, and a live concert.

One of the artists that we came to connect with was Marie Joy Caldwell, an art instructor at Shadbolt Centre and an alumnus of Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She single-handedly designed, sketched, and coloured the wall to integrate the children’s drawings and the LED installment into a cohesive art piece that came to be the Umbrella Wall Art as we know it.

At the Summer Street Party, with Caldwell on-site, all members of the public, from toddlers to seniors, were invited to pick up the paintbrushes we provided and leave their mark on the wall. It’s no ordinary move as this was the physical manifestation of the community being defined by the individuals within it and the chemistry that happened among them.

The Summer Street Party affirmed our belief in art as a vehicle for compassion, communication, and connection. Just look at the Umbrella Wall Art. It bore witness to how art mobilized and inspired an entire community to create something bigger than the sum of its parts.