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Completed mural back on the building of Totem Roasters - picture taken by Carl Dubé, owner Totem Roasters

Public relaunch of VKH Community Patchwork Mural on Saturday, November 20

The Arbor Gallery Cultural Centre is inviting everyone to a get-together for the relaunch of the Vankleek Hill Community Patchwork Mural, on Saturday, November 20.

Appropriately, the relaunch of the mural is taking place in the Phil Arber Memorial Garden, adjacent to the Creating Centre de Créativité, at the corner of Highway 34 and Main Street in Vankleek Hill. Organizers of the event will use the occasion to acknowledge many of the people involved in bringing the mural back to its original beauty.

Emceeing the event, former Champlain Township Mayor Gary Barton will welcome current Mayor Normand Riopel, who will address the guests for the occasion. The Community Patchwork Mural renewal project was greatly supported with a grant from Champlain Township, back in 2018.

Lorie Turpin, who spearheaded the project after the departure of Derek Evans for British Columbia, will also address the guests. Turpin coordinated all of the artists who helped reproduce the original works created by Odile Têtu and Elisabeth Skelly.

The gathering at the Phil Arber Memorial Garden holds a special meaning, given that Arber was the man behind the whole idea of murals in Vankleek Hill and who mandated Têtu and Skelly to carry it through. This Community Patchwork mural is very representative of his vision for this community. He was all about celebrations, community involvement and togetherness. Samme Putzel, Phil Arber’s widowed partner, will be present at the relaunch, as will Elisabeth Skelly.

“Numerous people and businesses contributed to both the original mural and its restoration,” explains Sylvie Bouchard, from the Arbor Gallery. “We have tried to gather all the information that we could find in our archives to make sure we acknowledge everyone, but frankly it is an impossible task.”

“It seems that everyone in the community was at one point involved in the project!”

Bouchard herself was one of the artists, along with Susie Fairbrother and Bridget Macdonald – who helped Lorie Turpin with the repainting.

“We had many laughs,” she recalls, “and I for one am proud of what we have accomplished. It feels good to see it back up, thanks to Carl Dubé and troops, from Totem Roasters.”

The gathering coincides with the Christmas Porch Tour, the Creating Centre’s craft fair and the Arbor Gallery’s popup shops and the final weekend of Susan Jephcott’s show.

“It will be festive in town.” Bouchard says. “I think Phil would have loved it.”

The event is set to take place at the Phil Arber Memorial Garden, beginning at 2 p.m., Saturday November 20. Coffee by Totem Roasters and baked cookies by Foodland will be served. Everyone is welcome.

Artist Lorie Turpin coordinated all of the artists who helped reproduce the original works created by Odile Têtu and Elisabeth Skelly. PHOTO: REID MASSON
The original Community Patchwork Mural, shortly before it was taken down in 2018. REVIEW FILE PHOTO

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