Looking Aft, we did it! / by Kate Tupper

 Installing with Trent and the Waterbridge ferry crew was a fantastic way to spend a Friday. 

Installing with Trent and the Waterbridge ferry crew was a fantastic way to spend a Friday. 

Yesterday, almost exactly a year after the Art Party that saved it, Looking Aft was installed on the M.V. Columbia. Until the moment it was secured, buffed, shining in the sun I never truly believed that this concept could become reality. Too many road blocks along the way to re-hash it all, but I can say that from the day I was asked to design something for this ship to its installation, this project spanned three and a half years. 

  Looking Aft ; laser cut, hand woven, TIG welded 14' stainless steel sculpture. Installed on the house works of the M.V. Columbia.

Looking Aft; laser cut, hand woven, TIG welded 14' stainless steel sculpture. Installed on the house works of the M.V. Columbia.

Many times over those years I had to check in with myself and weigh the pros and cons of continuing the fight to bring public art to the ship I helped build. I had a key word tattooed on my arm 6 years ago. "Persevere" And in my heart I truly believed that this project was worth it. The agony over finding the perfect design, grant proposal writing, the fundraising, the weeks of hand sanding. All worth it.

Thank You

The crew at Waterbridge Steel, whom I had the privilege to work beside building the Columbia. You shared your skills and friendship over the months we laboured to build a ship. It's no small feat. Your strength and comraderie empowered me to be the best welder I could be. You inspired me to keep up, laugh it off, and eventually these experiences and memories led me to design something ... a gift back. Thank you for helping me recognize the beauty and strength in teamwork. You are a special group of individuals. Bonarc, my friends.

Maryse Langevin and  Callum Campbell  from the Ministry of Transportation for the concept that we could and should put public art on the Columbia.

Our Mayor, Karen Hamlin, for suggesting that the small grubby welder girl over there also builds sculpture and sowing this seed of a project into my life.

Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Columbia Basin Trust for your support of a major project grant and afterwards for the patience and flexibility when the project had to change or die.

Waterbridge Steel and John Harding for the adventure of a lifetime. Shipbuilding is a wild, exciting ride. 

Waterbridge Ferries, so welcoming of the arrival of Looking Aft and helpful in the physical work of installation. You guys rule. I feel I have left her in great hands.

My family, friends, community for your endless support.  All I talk about is projects, and you guys are so cool to just hop on board with one. When I asked if you could help me replace the funds needed to go ahead with this project? Can you help me build an Art Party? You all said yes! And we did. 

Looking Aft, your trials made me stronger and resulted in the invention of something we didn't even know we needed in our lives. Art Party. We made, and keep making Lemonaid.