Updates from Culture & Events

City of Nanaimo // November 2021

Images above and below - Artist, Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun,
X̌e̕x̌e̕ Sq̓upa̓stul u tu T̓hewum Qa̕ ̓ i ̓ K̓wat̓lkwa
Sacred Gathering of the Freshwater and Saltwater, 2021
Photos: Sean Fenzl

X̌e̕x̌e̕ Sq̓upa̓stul u tu T̓hewum Qa̕ ̓ i ̓ K̓wat̓lkwa
Sacred Gathering of the Freshwater and Saltwater


In October, we celebrated the completion of a significant new public art installation at Beban Park Pool by Snuneymuxw artist Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun.

The project began in the spring of 2020 when White-Hill was commissioned to create artwork that considered the importance of the facility as a gathering place to promote health, wellness and community connection through recreation.

In developing his work, White-Hill thought about how people use the pool, the way swimmers move through the water, the architecture of the space, and the playful water features which are shaped like frogs and fish. He took the Nanaimo River Estuary as his theme, calling his project, X̌e̕x̌e̕ Sq̓upa̓stul u tu T̓hewum Qa̕ ̓ i ̓ K̓wat̓lkwa | Sacred Gathering of the Freshwater and Saltwater. With four distinct components that relate to the life that exists here in Nanaimo on the lands of the Snuneymuxw people, the project includes a series of giant wall paintings and colourful fabric banners. Teachings from the artist’s late great-grandmother, Dr. Ellen White, Kwulasulwut, and other mentors, are the inspiration for the artwork which honours and celebrates waters, land, plants, animals and humans, and points to the deep interconnection between all life.

To accompany the artwork and make it widely accessible, the project includes a free take-away booklet. It features White-Hill’s version of the Snuneymuxw stories Origin of the K̓wal̓uxw (Dog Salmon) Run and Story of the Q̓ullhánumucun (Killer Whale) Transformation, written especially for a young audience with colouring pages based his designs at the pool.

QR codes on four interpretive signs at the pool and in the booklet link to audio recordings of White-Hill explaining the artwork, speaking the stories, pronouncing the Hul’q’umi’num names of the creatures in the artwork, and sharing other common Hul’q’umi’num words, so that you can listen and practice wherever you are. This take-away booklet is available at the pool, can be downloaded from the web, and is available by contacting us at

Elder Gary Manson offered a song, words and a blessing at a small gathering on the pool deck in October, which included members of Eliot White-Hill’s family, several project contributors and City staff, the Mayor and City Councilors.

Image: Examples of projects by artists on the 2021-2023 Urban Design Roster

Urban Design Roster 2021-2023

We are thrilled to welcome twenty artists to the City’s new Urban Design Roster!

Sebastian Abboud
Ross Agro
Frederick Anderson
Ay Lelum
Hugo Bedard
Patrick Belanger
Noel Brown
Mauro Dalla Costa
Erin Gibbs
Roz MacLean
Sarita Mielke
Robert Plante
Amy Pye
Humanity in Art (Lys Glassford and Lauren Semple)
Brandon Stephenson
Emily Thiessen
Becky Thiessen
Curtis Van Charles Sorensen
Webb Creative

The program activates the broad-ranging skills of our creative community, with the aim to bring vibrant contributions to the many details of our City. From streets and paths, to walls and other infrastructure objects, these artists and designers demonstrate an incredible offering of creativity for future projects in Nanaimo. We can’t wait to get started!

Upcoming in 2022, we’ll see a new mural on the restroom building at Maffeo Sutton Park, a set of disappearing poems on active transportation pathways and three new manhole covers.

Take a look online to view a small sample of the talents of the roster of artists! Congratulations to all!

More about the Urban Design Roster

Temporary Public Art 2022: Shortlisted Artists

In 2021, we made exciting shifts to the City’s Temporary Public Art program. Program changes were intended to create opportunities for artists working in many different ways, and to ensure that appropriate supports are in place to help artists realize projects that can have a lifecycle of a few years and make meaning in Nanaimo.

This year we received 17 excellent proposals from artists across British Columbia, and from Alberta and Quebec. Artists proposed sculptures, murals, conceptual projects, digital initiatives, performance, community engaged projects, and works in video and film. Our selection panel, which included members of the Art in Public Spaces Working Group, reviewed each application with care and shortlisted four artists who were invited to a second phase of the competition, where they elaborated on their ideas and how they would be implemented.

In the next several weeks, our Staff team will take recommendations from the Selection Panel for review and approval by City Council. After that, we look forward to making announcements about the 2022 projects.

Each of the four shortlisted artists are professional artists based in Nanaimo. They are:

Curtis Grahauer

Jesse Gray

Tanuja Mishra

Amber Morrison Fox


More about the Temporary Public Art program

Contact Us


With respect & gratitude, we acknowledge that our work is carried out on the
territory of the Snuneymuxw people

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