Street Art is alive and well in Red Deer, Alberta. The Art Alley project continues this year after being a big hit in our city last year.
Art Alley is a collaborative project between The City of Red Deer and the Downtown Business Association. Three downtown spaces will be transformed by the project this year, including Fratter’s Speakeasy Venue, CanWest Travel and The Buffalo Hotel, leaving original hand-painted murals in place of plain alley walls.
This initiative has really evolved into something much more than public art, it’s created new connections in our community. We’ve involved youth at-risk and also explored partnership opportunities for those that are choosing to exit from gang-life. The mentoring piece is a work in progress because of the difficulty in scheduling work around both artists and those wishing to participate. In most cases, youth/case workers must be present at the project site while work is being completed. One thing is certain, the artists have embraced this opportunity to share their passion and knowledge with these people and we expect that mentoring will always be a part of Art Alley.
What we know and understand is that Art Alley is much more than revitalization of our downtown. It’s connecting people through the arts and the spirit of imagination in a safe and inclusive way. Connecting through the arts has the power to engage, enhance and empower people to unleash their creative potential – shaping the future of participants as passionate, active and contributing members of our community. It’s a creative process, guiding connections and creating a culture of caring.
Art Alley is getting great support from the community and a few extra funding dollars too. I anticipate that it will continue to flourish and be an annual event that everyone looks forward to, especially local artists.