‘Alley Cats, Ashcroft BC’ by Max Grass, 2017. Community Paramedic Philip Schuberg is hoping to get artwork like this, which shows Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and the surrounding region, for the Ashcroft ambulance station. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Ambulance station wants to showcase local region via art

Artwork celebrating Ashcroft and Cache Creek will brighten the walls of Ashcroft ambulance station

If music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, community paramedic Philip Schuberg hopes that artwork will have charms to boost the morale of paramedics at the ambulance station in Ashcroft.

Schuberg, who is acting unit chief at the Ashcroft station, has put out a call to local artists for artwork depicting the scenes and landscape in and around Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and the surrounding region. The works will be displayed at the station, to give a flavour of the area.

“Basically, what we’re trying to do is showcase local artists and get some of their art in the station, so that out of town people coming up here can experience our area a little better,” he explains. The majority of the roster at the station come from the Lower Mainland, West Kelowna, and “all over the place.”

Schuberg says it’s something he came up with recently, and as far as he knows it’s a purely local initiative that hasn’t been done at any other ambulance station. “I thought it would be neat to have some local art to jazz up the station.

“It’s tough times right now with COVID-19, and there’s heightened stress for the paramedics. It would be good to have some nice local art when you come back to the station to help you relax.”

He says the paramedics are dealing with increased security and safety measures, with changes to personal protective equipment (PPE) happening almost every day.

“It’s a little hard on you when you’re going into unknown calls. There are three different types of masks we can wear: half-mask respirators, procedure masks like in a hospital, and N95 masks, depending on the scenario. When we first arrive on scene it might be for a broken leg, not an influenza-like call, but we still do a COVID screening, and what we wear depends on their answers.”

Still, Schuberg says that everyone is doing fairly well. “We’ve all received the first dose of vaccine, and we’re eagerly waiting for the second.”

He has already reached out to a few artists, and heard from more who are interested. Works would be on loan to the station, but he says that if anyone would like to donate a painting that would be great.

Schuberg will also be reaching out to the RCMP detachment and the fire department to see if they would be interested in getting some artwork for their buildings. “I’ll talk to them and see if they want to have art from the area as a morale boost.”

Any artists who are interested in being part of the project can call the ambulance station at (250) 453-2533 to arrange a time to bring in some artwork.

“We can’t have people just coming to the station,” says Schuberg. “We need to meet in a COVID-safe way.

“It’s a neat little thing that’s happening, and I hope we can get some positive pieces of art from it.”

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