Planning a trip to the Kootenays and curious about the best way to take in some art and culture?
While there are a number of galleries and museums, you can choose to stroll around and check out the incredible public art scattered around these communities. It is also the perfect opportunity to get to know these places in the process. Art and culture are an integral part of the Kootenays, and the West Koot Route has an abundance of public art displays decorating streets, situated in parks and even hidden in alleyways. Ranging from funky to charming and sometimes audacious, we welcome you to discover what this region has to offer. Follow these tips, keep your eyes peeled and enjoy.
Nelson & Kootenay Lake: Murals Murals Murals
Park your car and walk around to check out some of the 50+ colourful murals that cover town. There is an informative self-guided Mural Tour that can be accessed by downloading the Kootenay Lake Road Trip App and is available in English or in French. The Mural Tour will provide you with an audio experience that is both engaging and unique, by giving the listener insight into the work done by artists who come from around the world to paint the murals at the annual Nelson International Mural Festival. You can learn more about the public art that Nelson & Kootenay Lake has to offer by visiting this interactive map.
Kaslo and Meadow Creek: Hidden Forest Beings
While you’re exploring this stunning region, you must check out the Koots sculptures. Three artists from Argenta, a small community on Kootenay Lake, have created these sculptures that seem to be proliferating across the Kootenay region. Here you can discover magical forest-dwelling stone figures that are hiding around natural spaces deep in the forest, and on the Kaslo River Trail. You will also find more of these behemoth monuments scattered around some of the other communities as you continue your travels. This is an art experience that will be treasured by folks of all ages.
Arrow Lakes & Slocan Valley: Upcycled Sculptures
The quirky spirit of the Slocan Valley is perfectly captured in their sculptures. Keep an eye out as you pass through Winlaw for these incredible and sustainable structures, made from recycled metal and found objects. You never know, you might even spot a dinosaur!
Castlegar is known as The Sculpture Capital of Canada and The Castlegar Sculpturewalk is an incredible public exhibition that rotates its art annually. It’s a must-see for any art enthusiast. Unlike the mystical stone beings around Arrow lakes, these sculptures are urban and diverse by design, created by local and international artists.
Rossland: Downtown Displays
Downtown Rossland hosts a curated collection of public art installations including a vast collection of murals and sculptures. Their Rotating Sculpture Program has made Rossland home to some of the most unique sculptures in the Kootenays. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes.