The future direction of Summerland has generated a lot of attention in recent weeks.
Much of this discussion, which will likely intensify as the campaign for next month’s municipal election unfolds, has not exactly cast the community in the best light.
Shrinking population statistics, uncertainties concerning the fate of a proposed prison which may or may not come to Summerland, and a palatable unease about what could happen next has not exactly brightened the mood around Summerland as it heads into the most politically charged period of the last three years.
And yes, the media plays its part in this apparent race to the emotional bottom as well.
In this sense, we would like to temper the recent gloominess about the future with a reminder that Summerland has much to be proud of, particularly its growing collections of murals that adorn local community building and churches in the downtown core.
The most recent and second addition this year alone honours the 200th anniversary of the Fur Brigade Trail and Summerland’s connection to it.
One might dismiss these creations as self-reflective windows on the past, as reminders of things that once were. Murals on walls, one might note, do not generate jobs or tax revenues. But such a narrow, utilitarian interpretation ignores the intrinsic and symbolic benefits of public art of this sort.
It adds character to Summerland, speaks well of its small but creative artistic community, acknowledges the historical context of the community and serves as a point of common inspiration, as a rallying point.
This last function is arguably the most important one, for if Summerland wishes to escape its doldrums, it perhaps needs unity of purpose above else.