Mural wins reprieve

A downtown mural whose creator was later found dead in a nearby alley has been given a new lease on life.

Jill Lanz

A downtown mural whose creator was later found dead in a nearby alley has been given a new lease on life.

Red Deer’s municipal planning commission has agreed to allow the graffiti-style painting to remain on the side of the Turning Point building at 4611 50th Ave.

The building is home to the Central Alberta AIDS Network Society.

Measuring about 6.7 metres by 2.2 metres, the mural was painted in 2003 by Shaun Gray. He was commissioned by CAANS to complete the piece, which contains the name “Turning Point” and depicts mountains as a symbol of addiction.

Gray, who suffering from substance abuse, died in February 2004. He was 31.

The mural is largely obscured from public view by an adjacent building, but has been criticized by some as promoting graffiti vandalism. CAANS has maintained that it is a work of art.

The commission was told that CAANS wasn’t aware a permit was required for the mural.

The organization submitted a letter from Jennifer Vanderschaeghe, its executive director, who stressed the importance of the mural to clients and staff in the building.

She pointed out that it took Gray more than a week to complete the piece.

CAANS also provided letters from Red Deer College art instructor James Trevelyan and local artist Tim Rechner, both of whom praised Gray’s talent and the artistic value of the mural.

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