One of our summer Muralists in Residence, Doro Buch, is a Calgary-based contemporary, visual artist. Originally a social scientist, she blends her curiosity about individuals and society with her passion to paint. She creates collage-like arrangements juxtaposing the imaginary, symbolic, and the real, in both oil and acrylic. Her work touches upon social, political, environmental, and human issues. The centre of her attention is always the individual. Doro wants to share the spark of creativity. Her goal is the cultivation of creative exchange and curiosity, whether this takes place through community engagement projects, in her art workshops, or in exhibitions. 

Doro ran four workshops with girls and women at the end of June, where they created images to inspire the mural, thinking of what the Women’s Centre means to them. They included everything from houses to boats to flowers to raised fists – all with their own symbolic meanings to each woman. She then took their creations to create a bigger mural design, trying to represent everyone’s contributions in some way. She also hosted over 50 people during two weeks of drop-in painting time.  

As a result, the garden has been alive with the sounds of women laughing, chatting and creating together – sounds that were so missed over the last year at the Women’s Centre. 

Doro has been assisted through her process by artist Anna Fuchshuber (annafranziskaart.com and @annafranziskaart on Instagram), currently a student at AU Arts. 

We asked both Anna and Doro the questions below during a conversation, and this is what they shared. 

What drew you to this mural project at the Women’s Centre?  

Doro told us that she was excited to work with the Women’s Centre. She had worked on a women-specific project before and found it really fun. She was eager to do more with women. She was drawn to the idea of doing a collaborative project together with women – getting their ideas and creating something exciting. She loves what happens with community murals, and has done many of them. The process always creates unexpected and amazing results. “Community work is awesome!” She also shared that the process has gone better than she imagined.  

What has this experience been like for you?  

Doro felt it was great to have time with women and to listen to their stories. She explained that the process has been “like a game” – she got input from all sides, and has tried to puzzle it together to make one picture. The parts together are bigger and better than she could do as a lone painter. The experience has been incredible, with so many ideas being contributed. She loves the energy at the design workshops and during the drop-in painting sessions. She loved the way women would come back for multiple painting sessions and bring their friends with them.  

She also enjoyed creating opportunities for people to contribute how they could – for example, people could help paint grass, or fill quilt boxes with a brand-new image. With all of these contributions, the mural design exploded beyond the original vision. She said that the process has taken a lot of energy, but that energy has come back to her through the participants.  

Anna shared that from the moment she arrived at the Women’s Centre for one of Doro’s design workshops everyone was so lovely, creative and welcoming. She could tell people were here to build community and were excited to share with each other. In her time assisting with the mural, she has seen so many different types of people with such unique personalities and stories – it’s been “cool hanging out with all these wonderful women.” 

We are starting to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic. What role do you think murals play in this moment?  

Doro shared that working outside together during this moment of transition from strict safety measures to more relaxed ways of being together indoors has been helpful. It’s empowering to see people again, and women have shared with her that they are so happy that the Women’s Centre is open once again. They get to feel part of something as a group, and can give something back to the Centre by designing and painting this mural.  

Anna pointed out that for so long people have been running on empty socially. It’s so exciting now to see people having their buckets filled with community love, social love, artistic love, volunteering love, and love of life again! There is also an important element of women being able to see themselves reflected in the mural as a way of being welcomed back to the Centre.  

We want to say a huge thank you to Doro for all her work putting this community mural process together!

Don’t worry – your chance to get involved in the murals isn’t over. Join us for a celebration August 10 from 6-7:30pm. Email rsvp@womenscentrecalgary.org, visit https://www.womenscentrecalgary.org/calendar/ or call 403-264-1155 to sign up for the event.  

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