A woman wearing a hooded jacket leans against a brick wall which is painted with a mural of trees and flowers.

Kayla is a designer, muralist, and founder of Koe Design. She uses public community art to combat the mundane by infusing people’s lives with beauty, and bringing balance to people, and perspectives.

She loves being able to take buildings, built to meet functional needs, and change them into expressions of humanity and imagination. Kayla’s goal is to “create work for everyone, work that makes everyone feel good, feel represented, feel included, feel beautiful, feel heard, feel at home, feel safe, and feel welcome.”

“I approached Mission Services, and the Men’s Shelter specifically for a few reasons. I felt the building itself, as well as the clients, could benefit greatly from the impact public art can have on a community. The Men’s Shelter exists in a neighbourhood which is evolving artistically, and I wanted to provide Mission Services with an opportunity to grow and change along with the James North Community.

When we construct cities we focus almost exclusively on functionality which leaves us with spaces that can feel cold, utilitarian and institutional. Bringing art into the public space is adding something that has no other purpose than beauty – it exists solely for the enjoyment of the people who inhabit that space.

I feel that the mural on the Men’s Residence fulfills many purposes – bringing a sense of pride to the clients of the Mission itself, and allowing those same clients to feel that the Mission belongs in the neighbourhood it occupies, that it is a valuable and integral part of the community, as are its clients.”

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