Luma, the electric mermaid at Char’s Landing, has a new look thanks to some dedicated volunteers. (PHOTO COURTESY MICHAH GARDENER)

Luma, the electric mermaid at Char’s Landing, has a new look thanks to some dedicated volunteers. (PHOTO COURTESY MICHAH GARDENER)

Alberni Valley artwork gets a facelift

Luma is the mascot and inspiration behind Electric Mermaid: Live Reads at Char’s Landing

JACQUELINE CARMICHAEL

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

A familiar piece of the Alberni Valley’s art landscape has gotten a well-deserved facelift with a kind of artistic plastic surgery.

Luma, the oversized luminary that hangs from the ceiling of Char’s Landing, has been stripped to the ribs and refurnished with new lights and a new body. The renovation was completed in November 2020, shortly before stricter new COVID-19 measures told people to stick to immediate household groupings only.

“We kept our numbers down … masking up and keeping social distancing in mind,” said Colleen Clancy, a member of Art Rave who was involved in both the original construction and the revamp for the giant lantern, pieced together with bamboo and a special lantern tissue paper from Norway.

The leader on the original project was Erin Ryding, who was involved in lantern-making projects with the city.

“We called on her in 2015 when we as a society wanted to create a large luminary to have our members and people from the community to collaborate on,” said Clancy.

In the original project, a cast of about 25 people came and went from Char’s Landing, working on Luma over several months, putting in hundreds of artist hours to build her with bamboo and paper and individually-adorned nylon scales, each one a tiny piece of artwork in itself.

“It became this other layer of engagement that Art Rave opened up,” Clancy said. “People were thrilled to come into the space and see their own creations.”

Luma’s gleaming 12-foot frame was a show piece in 2015, when she was displayed in Spirit Square. She has been luxuriating in the overhead space and shelter of Char’s Landing ever since.

A companion for Luma, a giant fish lantern, which hangs beside Luma at Char’s Landing, was completed in 2017 and made the trek to the West Coast for Tofino’s Lantern Festival.

A small arts group that has made significant connections with the community, Art Rave has done an all-ages art collaboration in the community since 2012 as part of the fishing derby, and then had its own festival until 2016, and had activities in conjunction with Canada Day at Harbour Quay since 2017, but this year’s plans were disrupted by the pandemic.

When Art Rave heard from Electric Mermaid team photographer Micah Gardener that Luma was getting a new life as a mascot of an online reading venue that hopes to eventually be a brick-and-mortar event once conditions allow, they masked up to help her shine again.

“Erin came out and was thrilled to come and be part of working on her, and was thrilled with this notion of a resurgence and rebirth of Luma,” Clancy said.

“We were thrilled to be able to give some new life and the idea that it would lend itself to ongoing artistic work in the community.”

In a time where concerns over health, restrictions and social distancing place stress on members of a community, art can make a difference, Clancy said.

“Art can have a big part of people’s sense of belonging, their mental health and well-being,” she said, adding that the society’s collaborative art mandate, bringing people together with projects over the years, is ongoing.

With Luma as both mascot and inspiration, a new online monthly venue for live readings debuted Nov. 20 in Port Alberni. Set for the third Friday of each month at 5:45 pm, Electric Mermaid: Live Reads at Char’s Landing will welcome national features, as well as regional readers. The event, which debuted Nov. 20, is hosted by Derek Hanebury and moderated by Karl Korven from its online home base at Port Alberni’s historic hostel and former Presbyterian church, Char’s Landing.

The Electric Mermaid venue welcomes writers from all over to read at the sign-up mic. Anyone who would like to read their own work can sign up at ElectricMermaidReads@gmail.com for a five-minute spot. Longer spots can sometimes be arranged in advance.

Listeners are welcome. Attendees can go to charslanding.com and click on the link to Electric Mermaid to go to the Zoom event.

PORT ALBERNI

 

(PHOTO COURTESY MICHAH GARDENER)

(PHOTO COURTESY MICHAH GARDENER)

Erin Ryding, Jillian Mayne, Laurie Blakely and Colleen Clancy renovate Luna, the electric mermaid, at Char’s Landing. (PHOTO COURTESY MICHAH GARDENER)

Erin Ryding, Jillian Mayne, Laurie Blakely and Colleen Clancy renovate Luna, the electric mermaid, at Char’s Landing. (PHOTO COURTESY MICHAH GARDENER)

Just Posted

Myla Bui holds up one of the paper cranes she made which have raised $31,031 for the Help Fill A Dream Foundation. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Cut out for this: sister of Leila Bui helps sick kids with 1,001 cranes each

Young Saanich philanthropist raises $31,031 for sick kids, folds thousands of paper cranes

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: Island man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with actor/broadcaster and current Island resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

(pixabay)
Millar: If the world is getting you down, laugh

There is good reason laughter is called humanity’s best medicine

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Victoria’s Canoe Brewpub will soon be the eighth Craft Beer Market location in Canada. (Google Maps)
Craft Beer Market buys Victoria’s Canoe Brewpub

Craft Beer Market operates nine locations across Canada

The Neighbourhood Market at Saanich Baptist Church is one of 10 that provide fresh produce to people in need across Greater Victoria. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Daily free food markets offer fresh produce to Greater Victorians in need

Ten Neighbourhood Markets operate across the region

AnimalKind, the BC SPCA’s animal welfare accreditation and referral program, has granted accreditation to Courtenay’s K9 Kind Dog Training & Behaviour Consulting, owned and operated by Carrie Lumsden. Photo supplied
Comox Valley dog trainer joins select club

Carrie Lumsden receives special BC SPCA accreditation

Victoria artist Noah Layne is conducting online workshops on portrait drawing as part of the Metchosin ArtPod’s About Face portrait show. (Photo courtesy of Noah Layne)
Metchosin Art Pod doing an about-face

Renowned artist Noah Layne hosting online classes in portrait drawing

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker in Nanaimo fails at fraud attempt, slams door on business owner’s foot

VIDEO: Suspect causes pain and damage in incident downtown Friday morning

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Most Read