Coast Salish asked to create art for three new ferries

B.C. Ferries has issued a call to Coast Salish people for expressions of interest in creating art for three new vessels — the Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven.

Ferries has joined with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council to organize the commission of three original designs from up to three Coast Salish artists. B.C. has 20 Coast Salish nations.

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Expressions of interest and portfolios are being sought, with a committee of artists and B.C. Ferries representatives to select a short list. Those shortlisted will be commissioned to propose specific design concepts, with the final selections to come from that work.

Artists’ primary designs will be used on the exterior of the new ferries, with elements of those designs used inside.

“We’re really excited about it,” said Tracey Herbert, executive director of the council, a First Nations-run Crown corporation with a mandate to support revitalization of aboriginal language, arts and culture in the province. “It really acknowledges the communities that are on the Salish Sea and gives opportunities for artists living in those communities to represent the coast.”

The three new ferries are being built in Poland at an overall cost of $165 million. Their names emerged from a public contest and were announced in July.

The Salish Orca is the first of the ferries slated for service, in late 2016 between Comox and Powell River. The Salish Eagle is due to follow in early 2017 and the Salish Raven is also expected to be sailing in 2017, with both serving the southern Gulf Islands.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is Sept. 24. Those shortlisted will be contacted by Oct. 30 and final selections will be made in November.

For full details of the submission process, go to the First Peoples’ Cultural Council website at

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