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An ode to the Oliver neighbourhood

Artist Vikki Wiercinski stands in front of the new ATB Oliver Square branch community map

Every neighbourhood has at least one hidden gem that makes it unique. Grandiose or humble, the items give residents a sense of pride.

With that in mind, Vikki Wiercinski designed a new community map installation that will be displayed at ATB's Oliver Square branch in Edmonton. The community map is a functional branch art piece that instantly situates customers in the community where the branch is located. It sits on a prominent wall so it's the first thing customers see when they come in. It's Oliver. It's art and yet distinctly ATB.

Artist Vikki Wiercinski stands in front of Oliver's famous bubble houses in Edmonton 

Oliver is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city located just outside of the downtown core. Vikki felt it was important to include the area's famed "Bubble Houses" in the map due to their unique front windows and perfectly manicured front gardens.

"When I found out I was one of the artists selected for the community map I was like let me at it! It was just so perfect because I live there and know the neighbourhood," Vikki said.

Artist Vikki Wiercinski sits on the front steps of Oliver School 

Oliver School opened on March 13, 1911 with 280 students. When it first opened, the three storey school contained twelve classrooms as well as an auditorium, library, offices, teachers lounge and a small rifle range in the basement. Vikki often finds herself walking past the school so it was a natural fit to feature in the community map.

Vikki's education is in graphic design so she uses a mix of drawings and illustration to create her art. In the Oliver map she combined archival photographs with illustrations and drawings.

Artist Vikki Wiercinski checks her phone while sitting on a bench at Paul Kane Park in Edmonton 

Paul Kane Park is located in the heart of Oliver and according to Vikki is a lovely place to sit in the sun and read a book.

"You really get a sense of community sitting here watching young families come and go. It’s a really nice atmosphere," said Vikki while taking a moment to enjoy the park.

"This neighbourhood is really a blend of old and new. You have the old brick houses mixed with new condos. Almost everyone has a story about Oliver, whether they lived in a small condo with a hundred roommates during university or they frequent the restaurants and little shops. I just love living here and wouldn't want to live anywhere else."

Blue bike racks in the shapes of letters spell out the word Oliver 

The Oliver Exchange building is a new development in the neighbourhood—or more precisely, a re-development. The heritage site was built in 1913 serving as the West End Telephone Exchange and has since been refurbished. The building is now a collaborative mixed-use office, retail and workshop hub.

The life of a solo entrepreneur really appealed to Vikki straight out of university. She found being able to pick up and move from her home office to the Oliver Exchange, or anywhere really, is advantageous to her creativity.

A shadowy bike lane in Edmonton’s Oliver neighbourhood 

The Oliverbahn!

Bike lanes play a big role in the neighbourhood serving as a cyclist gateway to downtown. At any given moment, Vikki finds bicycles, tricycles, rollerbladers or even the occasional penny-farthings cruising past her home.​​​​​​​​

Get to know the community of Oliver, and Vikki's art better when you visit our Oliver Square branch in Edmonton. And keep an eye out for community maps popping up in other neighbourhood branches across Alberta soon.
ATB Financial

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