Summer work leaves impression in North Central

By: Shawn Bauche October, 2011

Charlotte Hauk’s job is unique. “I might be the only person doing this kind of stuff, at least in Regina,” she says. It’s probably true. As the North Central Community Association’s (NCCA) Art Coordinator, she has brought at least seven painted murals into the community as a means to perk up the neighbourhood and reduce the amount of graffiti in the area.

The NCCA hired her as a summer student with a subsidy from the Student Summer Works program, which is administered by SaskCulture on behalf of the provincial government. Jessica Hanna, NCCA’s Project Facilitator said they brought in Hauk to make connections between the Regina’s North Central region and local artists, and to incorporate art-related programming into the community. Hauk is pleased with the arrangement. “She’s been able to make a lot of great connections within the community, and the higher profile projects can really transform a block.”

She spent the summer finding appropriate spaces, connecting building owners to local artists and coordinating the mural-painting process, through a series of the NCCA partnerships with organizations, such as church groups and Common Weal Community Arts. She worked with local artists - Darlene LaRoche, Jeff Key, and Andres Araneda and Nicole Araneda – to name a few, helping them bring small-scale sketches to life as full-sized murals, and rejuvenating buildings, such as the Four Winds Gospel Church, 5th Convenience Store, a Service Canada Centre, and a neighbourhood 7-11. The largest mural, an expansive blue canvas with symbols of peace and an Aboriginal hoop dancer, was painted on the back wall of the Jolly Roger Beer Store and Tavern with the youth of Mission 6:10, a local church group.

The winter is obviously off-season time for mural-painting, but Hanna has sourced additional funds to allow Hauk to continue teaching art classes at the NCCA when she returns to school in the fall. “She’s always been willing to do things, and to meet all the challenges I’ve brought to her, “ notes Hanna. “Murals are new to Charlotte, her background is actually ceramics, not painting. But she has risen to all the challenges.”

Hauk feels the challenge of organizing large-scale paintings has been valuable in expanding her own artistic pursuits as well. “I actually started painting because of this and I have a couple paintings in a friend’s arts show.” By the end of the summer she will be creating her own mural with two other artists on the side of the Regina Alternative Measures Program building, and the Regina Art Gallery has been talking with her about a fall exhibition.

Both Hauk and Hanna agree, that one of the biggest accomplishments belongs to the community. “With the Jolly Roger, it felt like a lot of community involvement,” explains Hauk. “It brought a lot of people together to create this beautiful art piece. It was great to see the transformation.” Hanna is appreciative of Hauk’s hard work, and hopes the North Central Community Association can continue mural activity next summer. She also appreciates the effect of hiring a student has had on the north central neighbourhood. “Without the (Student Summer Works) program we wouldn’t have been able to have the impact on the community we had, and wouldn’t have had an extra set of hands for someone who is super-busy over the summer. Students always bring great enthusiasm and passion.”