Artist Dean Lauze discusses the 160-foot mural he created for Empire Abbotsford on Friday during an unveiling celebration at the location on Sumas Way. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford’s largest mural unveiled, celebrates agricultural history

Piece created by Mission artist Dean Lauze at auto recycler

Abbotsford’s largest mural was unveiled today (Friday), revealing a scene celebrating the area’s agricultural history.

The 160-foot-long piece was commissioned by auto recycler Empire Abbotsford at 1210 Sumas Way (across from Costco) and created by Mission artist Dean Lauze of D’Arts, with the assistance of his wife Christina and son Josh.

The work is titled “Valley Farm Life Mid 1900s” and runs along the site’s parking fence.

Owner Neil James said he came up with the idea about four years ago to use the fence for a piece of art “that would celebrate the heritage of our city and complement the natural beauty that surrounds us.”

He and his dad purchased Empire in 1977, and James said he has developed a “sincere appreciation” for the city.

“I’ve had a desire to give something back to this community for a long time,” James said.

He said the piece is located in an ideal spot – in an area with a large volume of traffic and in close proximity to the border, providing a good “first impression” to visitors from the U.S.

James said Lauze was chosen after a request for proposals was issued last summer. The panel was “awestruck” by his submission, James added.

The piece captures farming in the area in the 1940s and ‘50s, including scenes with crops such as strawberries, raspberries and corn.

Speaking at unveiling event, Lauze said in his research for the mural, he was surprised to discover one part of local history.

“i didn’t know we grew tobacco, but there was a lot of tobacco being grown at the time.”

The mural also captures the area’s natural beauty, including Mt. Baker, Mt. Cheam, the Sumas canal and various forms of wildlife.

Mayor Henry Braun was also on hand for the unveiling.

“An event like this highlights the importance and value of art in our city,” he said “Community art enlivens spaces, and it shares stories about a community and celebrates its culture and heritage – what makes it unique.”

Lauze is well-known in the area for his murals and other large art pieces, including the “M monument” to celebrate Mission’s 125th birthday. That piece will be unveiled to the public this spring.

 

A 160-foot mural by artist Dean Lauze was unveiled Friday at Empire Abbotsford on Suman Way. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

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