The artist behind the mural is Matty Kakes. Photo: Jennifer Small

The artist behind the mural is Matty Kakes. Photo: Jennifer Small

New Castlegar mural first in Canada to feature air-purifying paint

Kootenay artist Matty Kakes has created another local mural

Another new mural has sprung up in Castlegar and this time it’s not just the art that’s special, but the paint as well.

The mural at 625 Columbia Ave., on the side of the ARC Youth Programs building, is the first in Canada to feature a new type of paint that reduces air pollution and has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-mould properties.

Airlite paint is described as an air purification technology. It uses sunlight to activate a process similar to photosynthesis, called photocatalysis.

The company Airlite claims a square metre (sq. m) covered with Airlite eliminates up to 0.390 g/sq. m of nitrogen dioxide each day. A 100 sq. m patch of Airlite should reduce air pollution as effectively as an area of 100 sq. m planted with mature trees.

According to the company, Airlite also acts directly on CO2 in the first month after application, through a chemical process called carbonation. It can absorb up to 237.8 grams of CO2 for each kilogram of paint applied.

That means the anti-pollution qualities of the Castlegar mural are equal to approximately 81 sq. m of mature forest and it absorbs the pollution created by 17 cars, per day. Which is fitting, since the mural stands along Castlegar’s busiest street.

The paint also repels dust and dirt and can reduce cooling costs.

The technicalities for the paint can be a lot to take in, so the mural’s creator Matty Kakes is including a QR code on the mural, which provides easy access to all the details and specifications.

Airlite can be seen on murals in Rome, Mexico City, New York — and now, Castlegar.

Using the latest innovation in paint was Kakes’ idea.

The Kootenay artist typically uses spray paint in his murals, but the environmental qualities of the new paint drew Kakes to it. The paint is harder to use as it comes in powder form and requires mixing with water, after which it must be applied within three hours.

The idea for a mural on the building came from Eugene Voykin, a friend of the program manager at ARC Youth Programs. The idea was then tossed around and Kakes took the lead to plan and create the work.

But Kakes is proud of the fact that the mural was really a community project.

The idea was grass roots, the money came from a variety of funders, support came from the building’s owner and tenants and the labour came from a number of people from local youth to a 74-year-old Kootenay elder.

“There is a positive impact of murals,” says Kakes. “In addition to beautifying, it is also community building to work together with people to create a sort of ownership to the space, especially with young people.”

Kakes has painted several murals in Castlegar this summer including one commissioned by the Downtown Street Art collaborative in the 200 block of Columbia Avenue and one inside Chef’s Choice restaurant.

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A new mural can be seen on Columbia Avenue in Castlegar near the Kootenay Market. Photo: Submitted

A new mural can be seen on Columbia Avenue in Castlegar near the Kootenay Market. Photo: Submitted