Cold Hands, Warm Art

The unveiling of EV's first pedestrian-only street and second major art installation coincided with Calgary's first major snowfall of the year. But the white stuff took nothing away from Ron Moppett’s epic mural.

Naturally there was a bit of good-natured grumbling about the weather among art lovers and guests who assembled in the EV Sales and Experience centre for opening remarks. "Send out the dog teams," joked one of EV's ambassadors.

Guests had just walked up the spanking new cobblestones of Riverfront Lane, a pedestrian-only street that now connects Riverfront Avenue to 6th Avenue SE. It's just 200-metres long and 17.6 metres wide, but it'll be a lovely stroll come summer, with bench seating, attractive lighting and bike racks.

Best of all, you'll be able to see THESAMEWAYBETTER/READER, local artist Ron Moppett's amazing 100' long x 13' high mosaic tiled wall, which flanks the west side of Riverfront Lane.

Moppett, a Calgary artist, piqued the collective curiosity by recounting the process of transferring this vision from paper to 956,321 individual mosaic tiles. Describing THESAMEWAYBETTER/READER as an open-ended dream that is "variable, lucid, hard to pin down, but just as concrete as an everyday event," he dedicated the massive project as "a very large coloured dream for a new part of the city." Who wouldn't want to race out into the snow and see what lay beneath those gigantic white tarps?

Delighted gasps and cheers erupted as the installation was unveiled, panel by panel, to reveal the visual story of the genesis of a neighbourhood, a city, a province. "I think it's stunning," one man declared. "One of the best pieces I have ever seen." Meanwhile, Moppett's wife, Katherine, breathed a sigh of relief, "I am very happy that it's finally unveiled," she declared with a proud smile. "It was very hard to keep a secret."

The wintry blast was certainly no match for the vibrant warmth of Moppett's tiled panels - turns out all that snow just highlights the saturated colors and rich textures. With bench seating gracing the new pedestrian streetscape of Riverfront Lane, East Village has a wonderful spot to sit and contemplate a spectacular new wall of color. You know, once the snow is gone.