With the first 50 years gone by at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, it was decided that an artistic centrepiece was needed to honour the upcoming 50 years. Embarking upon the challenge is Penticton metal sculptor Clint George, who was asked to concoct a piece of work symbolizing the building and community as a place of gathering.
“The first thing I thought of was when we held the elders gathering,” George said, referring to a ceremony held for the Penticton Indian Band.
The PTCC has served as a place to gather for George numerous times throughout his life — often through duties as a PIB councillor, and also for other receptions such as weddings.
“It’s a place we use quite often — and I’ve always been happy to be a part of it, even more now having a sculpture up there.”
It wasn’t until he was going through the consultation when the importance of the project sunk it.
During that initial brainstorming session, George said he was inundated with memories of the building, many spanning back to its days as the Peach Bowl.
“I’m honoured to be able to do it.”
He said that in designing his rendition of a place to gather, he started sketching ideas out which eventually morphed into a symbol of the sun.
“For me a place of gathering looks like a sun, how the rays all spread out, but it all starts at one point.”
Through sculpting, George says he can bring to life any perceivable idea or concept.
“It usually doesn’t hit me until I have all the steel in my shop and I’m ready to start cutting and designing. When I started cutting and getting into it, it was so natural for me to build what I’d seen in my head.”
Anything physical can be seen by George as a blank canvas to work on.
“Whether its a three-dimensional sculpture or something that hangs on the wall – anything with high roofs that I can hang my work off is a blank canvas. There’s not a spot I think I couldn’t build something for,” he said. “I can pretty much build anything I can draw, or anything you can think of.”
Also featured on his Gathering piece is a PTCC logo which represents the valley, lake and the landscape its reflecting.
On his dad’s side, George’s family was full of artists, he said, so his upbringing was steeped in creativity.
“I was brought up that way.”
He won awards for his drawings throughout elementary and high school, and carried his love for drawing into a career as a tattoo artist.
“As far as having the ideas for being creative, tattooing was the best art school I’ve ever been to,” he said, because to appeal to as many clients as possible, he needed to adopt the artistic styles from everywhere in the world.
“Before this I’ve never really done anything else for the City of Penticton,” George said, albiet he did create a shield for Penticton’s sister city in Japan.
Everybody is welcome to attend the unveiling of The Gathering and the 50th anniversary of the PTCC.
The celebration takes place on Aug. 22 between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. in the north lobby.
“To be able to do it and be a part of it is amazing,” he said. “I can’t say what one thing would stand out about The Gathering – the whole thing in itself is pretty wild. I like how it’s really well-balanced.”
The celebration will also feature nostalgic photos that were submitted by the community over the past month.