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Dumpster art brightens Fernie

Local artists spent last week painting dumpsters to go around Fernie
Cathy Hopland with her dumpster art - inspired by the works of Van Gogh and the famous painting Starry Night. Cathy Hopland took part in the dumpster project for the first time in 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Another nine dumpsters in Fernie are now sufficiently beautiful, after talented local artists expressed themselves with paint and creativity over the last week as part of the Arts Station’s ‘Out of the Box Dumpster Project’.

Louise Ferguson of the Arts Station said that this years crop of artists (both solo and in teams) had created wonderful works of art - all of which were on display at Station Square through last week as they were being created.

It’s the sixth (or seventh) year that the project has been going, and so far there’s around 50 dumpsters around Fernie that have been beautified by locals - and there’s still more blank canvasses to go.

“We would love to see all of (the dumpsters in Fernie) painted,” said Ferguson. “We’re getting up there.”

This year’s round of dumpster art was created thanks to a donation of 14 gallons of Benjamin Moore paint from local Fernie business Nufloors. The art isn’t restricted to just the dumpsters either - the Arts Station also painted ‘Fernie’ in bright colours down the middle of 6th Street to provide some further animation for Station Square, which is currently a pedestrian-only urban park.

For Ferguson, picking a favourite dumpster from this year’s batch was a no-go.

“How could I pick a favourite - each artist is so unique, and that’s what I love about the dumpster art project.”

Local artist Brina Schenk has taken part in the dumpster art project for multiple years in a row - if you’ve used bins around Fernie, chances are you’ve seen her art.

This year, her dumpster is an attractive green with simple gold icons.

“I really love lines,” she said. “My idea was simply icons of Fernie.”

Schenk’s dumpster is adorned with images of not only Fernie, but images from the last year (and change) that the community experienced together.

“It’s a lot of what I see in Fernie, from my point of view - music, animals, flowers.

“Anyone that looks at this should see something they see in Fernie.”

The dumpsters have since been relocated from Station Square to brighten up their own little corners of town.

Each bin is the property of GFL Environmental, and Ferguson said their support was crucial.

“They give us the bins for free and the time to paint them … we couldn’t do it without their support.”

READ MORE: Taking print online: FDHS digitises historical copies of The Free Press
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Brina Schenk with her dumpster of icons depicting Fernie through her own eyes. Each icon represents something she sees in Fernie. Brina takes part in the project each year. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Station Square is all the brighter thanks to creative additions from the Fernie Arts Station to further animate the urban park in downtown Fernie. Pictured on the last day of the Dumpster Art Project in 2021, which saw an additional nine dumpsters painted by local artists. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Elaborate dumpster art by young artist Marymay Howse. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Art by Sasha Potter painted on local dumpsters as part of the 2021 Dumpster Art Project, Fernie BC. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)