When people enter the Capitol Annex cinema, one of the most striking things they will notice is the bright and colourful artwork lining the walls inside.
A driving force behind that look is Fred Harrison, nationally-recognized mural artist.
He and a group of local artists – Chantal Roy, Nadine La Greca and Lilianna Crowe – have spent the last month creating a number of murals that line the interior walls of the cinema complex.
Harrison, who is based in New Brunswick but who spent many years in Ontario, has done mural projects all over Canada.
His work caught the attention of Tom Hutchinson, Magic Lantern president, who commissioned Harrison to do murals at the various Rainbow and Magic Lantern theatres across the country.
A quick Google search indicates Harrison has done murals for the Roxy as well as Rainbow Cinemas - Centre Mall in Saskatoon, as well as several cinemas in Ontario.
“I’ll follow Tom wherever he opens a cinema, as I have for the past 20 years,” said Harrison.
As for his cinema murals, each has a unique, colourful look that reflects the local community.
“Tom likes a historical aspect to each of his theatres,” said Harrison, and “he usually just lets me loose to work on the decorating.”
Two of the murals at the Capitol Annex focus on history: one includes scenes from historic downtown North Battleford and old Battleford, while the other incorporates the railway and the Indigenous heritage of the area. A third mural is a more contemporary one featuring the region’s sports teams.
The other local artists on the project came to Harrison’s attention through their recent work on a mural that lines the wall at the Battlefords Indian and Métis Friendship Centre in North Battleford.
Their main contribution was to create the Indigenous-themed medallions that line the walls of the cinema. Some of those pieces are already installed, but the indication is even more are on the way.
The Capitol’s manager Ursula Swindler said the colourful artwork inside is designed to give the new theatre a welcoming, vibrant feel.
“The pieces that you see when you first walk in shows that this is a community theatre and we’ve got a variety of different cultures here,” Swindler said.
Harrison echoes that sentiment. “This is a wonderful multicultural community and I want to celebrate that,” he said.