9. Downtown Community Court

Artists: Joey Mallett, Rita Buchwitz & Jerry Whitehead
Year: 2009
Location: 211 Gore
Dimensions: Varied (see below)
Best Viewed: Inside Community Court (Permission to enter to view the murals)

Downtown Community Court (DCC) Mural is located inside the community court building and you need to ask at the entrance for permission to enter to view the mural.

The dimensions of these murals are: upper wall -7’ x 9’, Waiting Room (lower floor) approx 6’ x 18’ and 6’ x 12’, stairway (canvas painting) Falling Through the Cracks/Pushing Through approx 4’ x 6’, Pillar – approx 6’ x 3’

This quartet of murals reflect the community that the Downtown Community Court serves and include reflections, homelessness, loss of voice, hope, respect, and transformation.

The community court was established in conjunction with social services and health services, to better serve the needs of people who are marginalized in our city. The artist’s task was to paint murals that humanize the face of justice. To replace the cold, white institutional walls of this one-time jail, the walls would be softened and enlivened by art. Judge Gove, a believer in the power of art, was a strong voice of support for this improvement.

The reception area mural was a perfect collaboration between the community and the artists. The artists chose three words that came up most frequently in conversations – Hope, Respect, and Home.

The waiting room outside the courtroom, was inspired largely by the Watari Latin American Group, who spoke of the importance of roots, and of unification of north and south America. They told the story of the mothers in Latin America whose children ‘disappeared’ and their offering of food to the perpetrators.

The third mural was largely inspired by the ideas of falling through the cracks and pushing through. Many marginalized people fall through the cracks of the political system, and it takes great courage to push through. It also includes the idea of people helping each other to rise up and not only survive, but thrive.

The 4th painting on a pillar was done by Jerry Whitehead, in his signature style.

Names of Community Groups Involved: Watari, Carnegie Community Centre (Oppenheimer Art Group), Life Skills Centre (Art Group, Aboriginal Group), Kettle Friendship Society, Coast Resource Centre and DCC Staff.