Crystal Driedger's art is now on display throughout Strathcona County.
 
As part of the county's public art program, Driedger's concept for "Wilderness Interrupted" was chosen to celebrate wildlife and plants from the area.
 
"There's that yellow line that runs through the middle of trails all the time," said the artist. "I thought, 'how fun would it be if that yellow line turned into a tree branch? Or a ripple of water?'"
 
Three panels were placed at different rest stops along the Strathcona Regional Trail, between Streambank Avenue and 17 Street. Each panel highlights different species from the meadows, wetlands and woodlands of Strathcona County; saskatoons, cow parsnips, fireweed, blue columbine, dragonflies, beetles, butterflies, chickadees, bluejays, hummingbirds, weasels and more.
 
"I know with Sherwood Park, especially in that industrial area, it kind of gets a bad rap for being unsightly, kind of boring," added Driedger. "But this trail connects Sherwood Park with one of the most beautiful river valley systems in the world. I just thought it'd be so fun to have this little surprise bit of artwork here and there dotted along the trail."
 
Created from DecoMark, a custom thermoplastic material applied directly to asphalt, this public art piece was put together like assembling a giant puzzle and then heated and sealed into place.
 
Driedger provided a short explanation of the process on her Facebook page.
 
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Strathcona County allocates one per cent of their budget for eligible capital projects towards the purchase or commission of public art, in an effort to preserve the county's cultural spirit and identity. “Wilderness Interrupted” was funded through the 2017 budget, at a cost of $21,700. 
 
Driedger added Strathcona County's public art commission "couldn't have come at a better time," as all of her art classes and shows have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
"I can't wait for it to be warmer out so that we can enjoy it without bringing a shovel there," she laughed. 
 
In 2017, Driedger’s painting “Magpie, Oh Magpie” was also purchased for Strathcona County’s permanent art collection. More of her artwork can be found in the Royal Alberta Museum, in galleries, retail stores, online and in local markets.