A new city park dedicated to a late Port Alberni man will feature some student artwork thanks to a collaboration between the City of Port Alberni and Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS).
A small park in the Uplands II subdivision (located at the top of Burde Street and accessible from Arbutus Drive) has been tailored for pre-literate children, or children who are not yet reading. A block wall on the property will now feature a story, told entirely in pictures, by students in Anne Ostwald’s Grade 11-12 art class.
Ostwald said her class spent months working on the project.
“It was the most chaotic term we’ve ever had,” she laughed. “I am completely blown away by the kids in my class. The skills that they have learned by doing this will carry them through in their entire lives.”
The end result is a story called waalsapaya (or “finding home” in Nuu-chah-nulth). In pictures, it tells the story of a baby otter searching for his family.
Ostwald and her class presented the 14 panels of artwork to Amy Needham, parks operation supervisor with the City of Port Alberni, on Thursday, June 16.
Griffin Park is named after Griffin Dolling, who passed away in 2018. Both of Griffin’s parents attended the unveiling of the artwork last week.
Greg Dolling described his son as a “very outgoing” young man, who excelled at sports and academics. “He was a very good, kind person,” he said.
Griffin was just about to finish his third year of engineering at UBC when he died in a car crash in 2018.
Greg said the small park was donated to the city by the Dave Koszegi Group.
“The city took it on to dedicate this park to my son, Griffin,” said Greg. “We’re proud to have this park here in his name.”
It was by complete chance that the art students included a symbol of significance to the Dolling family in their panels—a yellow butterfly. In the story, the butterfly symbolizes transformation. But Greg said this butterfly has another meaning for his family.
“On the day of the funeral, a yellow butterfly followed the window of our truck for two blocks on the way,” he explained. “Ever since then, the yellow butterfly always comes up.”
The panels will be treated by the city and will be installed in late summer or early fall.