First Nations art adorns Sidney utility boxes

The Town of Sidney has added four new pieces of public art as part of its multi-year Utility Box Beautification Project.

Since 2006, the town has wrapped 38 electrical utility boxes in downtown Sidney with works of art by established and emerging artists living in the Saanich Peninsula.

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This year, the town picked four First Nations artists to display Coast Salish art on utility boxes along Beacon Avenue between Second and Seventh Avenue.

The artists represent three WSANEC First Nations: Charles (Temosen) Elliott from the Tsartlip First Nation, Doug LaFortune and Doug Horne from Tsawout First Nation, and James Jimmy from Tseycum First Nation.

“Sidney has always held a special place in my heart, so I jumped at the opportunity to contribute a piece of public art to the project,” said Elliott, master carver and visual artist.

His piece, titled Seals, can be seen on B.C. Hydro Box 3203, near 2464 Beacon Ave.

Other pieces of his art can be seen nearby at the Mary Winspear Centre, where he has carved three 3.6-metre-tall totem poles, at the Victoria International Airport and at Butchart Gardens.

Another artist featured this year is Jimmy, an independent Coast Salish carver and visual artist born and raised in the Tseycum First Nation.

His piece is Sqto (Raven), found on B.C. Hydro Box 3203, on the northwest corner of Fourth Street and Beacon Avenue.

Jimmy apprenticed under Elliot, with whom he collaborated on the Victoria airport salmon display, a totem pole at the Mary Winspear Centre and a totem pole at the office for the District of North Saanich.

Primary funding for the Utility Box Beautification Project is provided by the Town of Sidney, with participation and sponsorship from local businesses and a B.C. Hydro grant program.

This year, Van Isle Marina has sponsored Horne’s Hummingbird piece, located on B.C. Hydro Box 2451 (near 2297 Beacon Ave.).

LaFortune’s Otters and Blue Heron can be found on B.C. Hydro Box 3203 (near 2488 Beacon Ave.).

parraise@timescolonist.com

• For more information, go to sidney.ca/utilityboxbeautification.

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