New mural on Whistler Olympic Plaza washroom facility showcases iconic flora and fauna

Publication Date: June 29, 2021

A new multi-coloured, large scale mural has been painted on the recently opened public washroom facility at Whistler Olympic Plaza, adding to Whistler’s growing collection of art in public spaces. The mural spans all three sections of the backside of the building, each standing at 4.3 meters tall.

The piece entitled Quartz-Chromatic was created by Whistler-based artist Dave Petko based on the idea of light refraction and dispersion from quartz, a mineral found in the Sea to Sky corridor. The mural features an acrylic gradient of warm to cool tones that wash over iconic flora and fauna from the area, including a Douglas fir, hemlock, cedar, lupine flowers, black bear, lynx, grey jay and raven.

“I was thrilled, honoured and grateful to be the artist chosen to paint the mural at Whistler Olympic Plaza. The mural creation process, from conception to finished painting, went so smooth and natural. I gave myself four weeks to complete the mural, and after one week of 12 hour days, I finished in two weeks knowing it would rain the weeks after, and I wouldn’t have been able to paint,” said Petko. “As an artist working alone during the pandemic on a public art piece, it was nice to have the community come out, observe me paint and comment on how lovely the piece was looking. Many were amazed at the progress I made in such a short period of time. Being an avid forager and nature lover, I have spent countless hours in the forests of Whistler and have had encounters with all of the animals I have included in the mural.” 

Petko has been immersed in art over the course of his career. Originally from Ontario, he moved to Whistler in 1995, where he worked at Toad Hall Studios and Black Ohm Tattoos. Now the owner Black Ohm Tattoos, Petko also pursues his own personal art projects and has a solo exhibit slated for early 2022. He is also a member of the art collective The GuildArts, which make large scale art installations for event organizers such as Live Nation, Huka and BassCoast.

Petko submission was chosen by a selected jury of art representatives from the Whistler community, following a Request for Proposal issued by the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) in February 2021. Creation of the piece was funded through the Province of British Columbia’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI).

“This unique piece by local artist David Petko – with its images of local wildlife and use of colours of the sky, water and mountains – is an excellent addition to Whistler’s growing public art collection. The mural enhances the vibrancy of the Whistler Olympic Plaza as a state-of-the-art outdoor performance facility and community space,” said Whistler Councillor Cathy Jewett. “This newest edition complements other recent pieces like Susan Point’s A Timeless Circle beside Maury Young Arts Centre and Sinámkin – Jody Broomfield’s Thunderbird at the east end of the Upper Village Stroll at Chateau Boulevard. Thank you to the Province of British Columbia for helping to make this possible through Resort Municipality Initiative funding.”

View Quartz-Chromatic on the RMOW’s virtual public art tour here.

The public washroom facility at Whistler Olympic Plaza opened in May 2021 and was built as part of a larger strategy to meet the significant demand for public washrooms in Whistler Village – particularly among visitors. Another washroom facility opened at PassivHaus this winter, and a third facility is current under construction at the main entrance to Whistler Village. Construction for all three facilities was also funded through provincial RMI funding.

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