Visitors to Moose Jaw’s downtown are encouraged to watch out for the wet paint this summer, as three local artists join forces to brighten up the city by painting ‘unconventional’ canvases as part of the Kinsmen Kids Art Project. 

“This is something we started in 2021, so three summers ago, we were down here painting colourful, kids-themed artwork on benches, garbage cans, utility boxes, things like that, kind of unconventional canvases that can draw the eye and just make a passerby smile,” explained Carly Jaye Smith. 

Smith is a local artist whose colourful custom murals at places like Boh’s Cycle, the Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce, and the Palliser Regional Library have built her a reputation. 

“The main point is to just make it a little more kid-friendly down here in our historic downtown,” she added. 

The project is sponsored by the Kinsmen Club of Moose Jaw and co-ordinated by the Downtown Moose Jaw Association. Artworks will be installed mostly on Main St, but some side streets will also be included.  

By the end of the summer, more than 30 of the City’s dark green public works properties will have a bright new design approved by the Public Art Committee. 

The artists on the project are Smith, Kayla Buckingham, and Ellie Gauvin. 

“All three of us that are involved this year have a variety of things we’re working on, from a colourful river nature scene to a (Moose Jaw) Warriors bench to things like Pokemon,” Smith explained. “But we don’t want to say too much about what our design plans are, because we tend to change them are we go. 

“Some designs just don’t work, depending on the object and the viewpoint. The canvas is tricky. There are bits missing, you’ve got poles and trees and other odd obstacles blocking certain views, then there’s aspects you don’t have to put as much into, because the most important visible spots are the ones you can see when you drive down Main.” 

Kayla Buckingham prepares to paint a downtown bench with a yellow submarine design (photo by Gordon Edgar)Kayla Buckingham prepares to paint a downtown bench with a yellow submarine design (photo by Gordon Edgar)

It’s the first public art project for Buckingham, who said she mostly paints at home. 

Buckingham was working on transforming a bench outside of the Tunnels of Moose Jaw into a bright yellow submarine. She works with Carly Jaye and took the chance to join her on this project because she thought it would be a fun way to spend part of the summer. 

“The intent is to get more young families downtown and enjoying all the amazing things we have,” Smith added.”