New mural adds colour to old neighbourhood

Family Ties Association has partnered with local artist, Brendan Browne, to paint a mural on the side of Urban Grocer while mentoring a student throughout the process.

The floral mural will showcase the dedication and effort the two have put into the project located along the side of the building at 9 Ave and 11 St South.

The mentorship is part of the Family Ties Community Assets Group, teaching application techniques with spray paint that will help a young artist enhance their artistic skills and showcase talent to the community.

“I enjoy learning it,” said Madison Devlin, student artist. “I’ve done airbrushing and other things like that, but learning something else in art is quite amazing. Especially seeing why we are doing this.”

The mural will add to the beautification of the neighbourhood giving colour to, as Browne puts it, an ugly brown.

“We are taking this kind of standard beige colour – it’s hideous – and making it beautiful,” said Browne. “The idea behind the content of the design, the garden, is because this is a garden community. A garden made up of different plants from all different spaces sharing the same soil. We thought that was a cool analogy for what Urban Grocery stands for too.”

Owner of Nector Fine Tattooing, Browne is also a local to the neighbourhood, saying the mural is important to the community.

“It adds to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood. That, ‘you gotta check this out’ aspect. The fact that we are surrounded by this concrete jungle is pretty bleak. I don’t think we are meant to be like that. We colour and reset the brain and it helps us re-engage with the spaces even if we have walked the same route to school or work every day. Now we have a new thing to engage in,” said Browne.

Working through the last week of September, Browne and Devlin took on the fluctuating weather to see their project come to life.

“She’s super artistically inclined, I can speak my language and she’ll know what to do,” said Browne. “My friend Becky Fitton (program supervisor with Family Ties) threw this idea around of having a mentorship and we took this opportunity with Madison.”

“He’s not a mentor that’s super hard. He’s one that expresses it in a way that’s easy for me to understand,” said Devlin. “I’m learning to blend the colours, and not only using my wrist but my arm to bolster movement.”

Working with skills such as layering, understanding the gradient, and depth creation, the two have created a piece of art that will add to their community and spark a new appreciation for the area.

“The reason I’m doing this will be totally different than why somebody does their Instagram post in front of this, but I think that it’s about time we engage with our spaces in a healthy way, a creative way."

Ryan Clarke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald