Musical Railing and Mural Series Coming to Two City Parkade Stairwells

Two City parkades will soon provide more reason to “take the stairs”. Stairwells will soon feature interactive musical and visual experiences for those coming and going, or wanting a place to get some exercise downtown.

The City’s Art on Parkades competitions have selected artist team Scott Amos and David Parfit to create an interactive musical railing for the Bastion Square Parkade’s back stairwell.

At Centennial Square Parkade, a series of murals featuring contemporary Canadian and First Nations imagery will be created by artists Joanne Thomson, Jennifer Johnson and Beth Threlfall in collaboration with local youth to enhance the stairwell.

Musical Railing

To create a fun, musical stairclimbing experience for parking customers, the back stairwell railing at Bastion Square Parkade will be installed with sensors that create a different sound and light effect on each of the six floors. When hands touch the railing sensors, sounds will play through speakers on each level and LED lights will illuminate the railing, creating a unique experience for those who take the stairs. The lighting effects will be more visible at night.

The programmed sounds can be changed to correspond with seasonal themes, such as bird song in the spring, jazz samples or chords during JazzFest in the summer, and seasonal music during the Christmas holidays. There is also the potential to invite local musicians and composers to create sounds for each flight of stairs.

Award-winning filmmaker and media artist Scott Amos and composer, sound designer and software engineer David Parfit have worked together at Monkey C Interactive to create nearly a dozen interactive installations. These projects include The Philliphone beer bottle organ (for Phillips Brewery); Pentralux, a motion-reactive LED painting wall, and the Bubble Organ. Their work has been displayed at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Limbic Media, TEDx Victoria, as well as Rifflandia, Bass Coast, Victoria Film Fest, Otherworld, Spark and Resonance Festivals.

Learn more about the musical railing.

Mural Series

The mural series artist team will mentor youth artists selected by the Victoria Youth Council, ensuring everyone has a creative voice in determining one of the following three potential mural themes: the four elements – earth, fire water and air; four views of Victoria – parks, city, harbour, skyline; and “vertical slices of wild” – underwater, shoreline, forest and sky.

Joanne Thomson, Jennifer Johnson and Beth Threlfall recently collaborated to create two murals for George Jay Elementary that will be installed this month. Thomson is a full-time visual artist, specializing in water colour for illustration and fine art; Johnson is a First Nation Kwakuitl artist who specializes in traditional native art forms; and Threlfall is a local artist best known for her Fernwood “Soul Poles”, and most recently, Victoria’s first street mandala at Grant Street in the Fernwood neighbourhood. 

Enhancing City parkades to make them more welcoming was identified during consultation last year as a way to improve the parking experience downtown.

Learn more about the mural series