Rotary Club of Nanaimo members and friends are painting a mural of Neck Point Park at Eden Gardens long-term care home. (Photo courtesy Joe Wittkofski)

Rotary club painting scenic mural at Nanaimo care home

Neck Point Park panorama being painted on rear wall at Eden Gardens

A new scenic mural is coming to Nanaimo’s Eden Gardens long-term care home.

This summer the Rotary Club of Nanaimo, celebrating its 100th year in Nanaimo and on the lookout for more community projects, started work transforming a 30-metre-wide wall in the rear service area of the facility into a work of art.

“About 14 rooms face this blank wall, so it was like, ‘Well, that’s not fair that these other rooms have views of courtyards and lovely woods,’” said Denise Wittkofski, project coordinator. “So we decided to paint a picture.”

Wittkofski is a Rotary member who also sits on the Eden Gardens board. She said Rotary has contributed more than $100,000 to the facility over the past 20 years and the group is providing the volunteers and painting supplies for the mural.

“It’s just something that’s near and dear to a lot of our hearts,” she said.

Last year Eden Gardens’ art therapist started painting a mural on that wall, but she left her position before it was completed and the mural remained half-finished. The Rotary committee decided to start over and paint a mural based on a panoramic photograph of Neck Point Park.

“It has everything: the mountains, the ocean, the beach and two wooded areas on either side,” Wittkofski said.

She said the goal is to make the residents feel more connected to nature, particularly as COVID-19 precautions have been keeping people indoors until recently.

To help with the project the Rotary club brought in local painter and fellow Rotarian Derek Rickwood, who has painted a mural at Cavallotti Lodge.

Rickwood said he’s been guiding the painting every step of the way. He said that while they are beautifying a wall for the benefit of the residents, the process of creating art with a group of friends is also important.

“It’s just using art in a positive way,” he said.

Wittkofski said she hopes to have the mural finished by the end of August.

RELATED: Music therapist plays socially distant concerts at Nanaimo long-term care home

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