February 16-24, 2019
We spent 5 days in Churchill in the middle of winter. Yes, it was cold. Very cold. Most people come to Churchill in October or November to see polar bears. Or in the spring to see beluga whales. We came in February, with Natural Habitat, to see the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis (please see that post). But of course we also got to know the town of Churchill (please see that post).
For a small town of only about 800 people, Churchill is full of art. On June 16-26, 2017 the Pangea Seed Foundation, an international marine conservation organization, together with Kal Barteski, founder of the Polar Bear Fund, hosted a festival called Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans in Churchill. The idea behind the project was to bring in recognized public artists to learn about how a remote community, like Churchill, faces the many challenges of living on an ocean coast. By creating large murals, they would change the visual landscape and thus inspire conversation about protecting the oceans. But like many projects of this magnitude, it ended up inspiring the devastated small town, here on the edge of the Arctic, to appreciate their own place in the world. This project brought education about environmental issues, but it also brought beauty to the town. I must add that Churchill was already beautiful. The glistening snow. The sunsets. The trees. The wildlife. But the Sea Wall project brought color and meaning to the many empty, large walls of the buildings of Churchill.