Visually Speaking: Berwick Mural Society’s Picture This Campaign

Anna Horsnell

Picture This: A large-scale mural depicting Berwick’s agricultural heritage painted bold and beautiful on the brick wall of the original Berwick Fruit Company building. It’s a natural location, adjacent to the Harvest Moon Trail off Mill Street that offers over 400 feet of empty wall just begging for a little colour and attention. Berwick’s reputation as the province’s apple capital has been well earned over the years and what better way to pay tribute than with public art that is available to residents and visitors alike. The idea will become an exciting reality in September.

Berwick resident Greg Hubbert is chairman of the newly-formed Berwick Mural Society and an avid volunteer and advocate for his hometown. The idea for this new project isn’t entirely original, he laughs, “Carcross, Yukon was featured on the CBC show Still Standing. They hired professional artists to paint murals on empty walls in the town. Like Carcross, Berwick has an interesting history, and telling our story for the world to see through mural art just seems exciting. After this past year of lockdown and Covid-related issues, now is the perfect time to go to work on a project that will make folks smile.”

Murals have graced the walls and ceilings of buildings around the world for centuries. Architectural aspects become part of the very artwork itself and the images enhance an otherwise ignored space while recording the very culture of the people, the place, and the time.

Hubbert has help on the committee from two local historians John Dow and Phil Vogler, former mayor and co-chair of the Apple Capital Museum John Rainforth, current and former town councilors Mike Trinacty and Barry Corbin, and (full disclosure here) this writer and artist. Then there is the building owner Paul Parsons who is more than happy to offer his building’s outside wall to make this mural a reality.

Hubbert’s enthusiasm is contagious. He’s been busy fundraising and both business owners and residents are getting behind the idea, not to mention the Town of Berwick itself which stepped up with a major contribution. “As people hear about it they smile and comment about what a great idea it is,” he shares. “We are the Apple Capital of Nova Scotia. Learning about and celebrating who we are, and perhaps better understanding what went on in this community many years ago, has the potential to lift us all up and feel an even greater sense of pride in who we are today.”

This is just the beginning. Other business owners are offering up bare walls on their buildings and the Society is already planning many more murals in the years ahead. Ideas are endless. Future murals are wide open to suggestions and input from all of the residents who now call Berwick home. One thing is sure: the Berwick Mural Society is going to bring some exciting art to the walls of this Valley town.

Anyone interested in learning more is invited to contact Greg Hubbert at 1-902-538-9181 or gvhubb54@gmail.com.