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Karl Schutz presented Mural Town's biggest arts-tourism honour

Chemainus mural pioneer Karl Schutz with his Festival of Murals honourary member emeritus unveiled Wednesday in North Cowichan chambers. - Peter W. Rusland
Chemainus mural pioneer Karl Schutz with his Festival of Murals honourary member emeritus unveiled Wednesday in North Cowichan chambers.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

Mr. Community got his most precious Christmas present Wednesday.

The father of Chemainus' mural project was named honourary member emeritus of the town's Festival of Murals.

The kudos occurred in North Cowichan chambers as Schutz, 83, received a unique art plaque, created by Art Carlyle and Brad Grigor, and proudly presented by Mayor Jon Lefebure and FOM president Tom Andrews.

"After 30 years — Wow!" Schutz said of recognition of his helping lead ongoing efforts to establish Chemainus as a world mural capital.

It boasts artworks depicting the town's history, Emily Carr-theme works, sculpture and more.

Schutz credited his long-time wife, Betty, for sharing his enthusiasm for the mural movement that's gone global.

"Karl's an inspiration," said Andrews. "He's a tough act to follow."

Schutz's ideas bubbled even as he received his honour.

He advised Andrews to continue adding more outdoor artworks, as small as four by eight feet — saluting renowned B.C. painter Carr.

Schutz's vision of resurrecting the dying mill town into The Little Town That Did saw its heyday between 1981 and '82. He cheered then-mayor Graham Bruce realizing that vision.

Schutz hinted at his frustration with artistic action that's flagged since then.

"It's disappointing its taken so long. Let's get an expeditor; let's get moving.

"I didn't take 'No' for an answer 30 years ago," he said of pushing Mural Town's artistic ambiance to complement the Chemainus Theatre Festival and other attractions to enliven dead frontage.

Meanwhile, Schutz was like a little kid opening his presents Christmas morning.

"This is the most unique Christmas present I've ever had in 83 years; I'm quite confident no one else has had one like this.

"I'll put this under the tree."

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