Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff-Delburne Photo project-Only a fraction of the more than 300 black and white photographic portraits by Toronto photographer John Beebe of Delburne residents remain on public buildings in the Village of Delburne.

Delburne murals fading quickly

A photo mural project that was the pride of Delburne last week is now a community disappointment.

A photo mural project that was the pride of Delburne last week is now a community disappointment.

The large photo portraits of more than 300 local residents that were mounted to the sides of several Delburne buildings have already mostly come down in the rain.

This happened despite estimates by Toronto photographer John Beebe and his installation expert, Dan Bergeron, that the photos would remain on buildings for six month to two years.

When asked previously about whether thin paper and wallpaper paste could withstand Alberta’s climate extremes, the two stated their estimated time frame was based on how long similar mural projects lasted in other communities across Canada.

But on Thursday, Beebe admitted Central Alberta’s wet June weather is “not typical of other places where these kinds of installations have happened. … We were faced with just brutal weather conditions.”

“I felt very lucky to be part of this community (project) and when I saw the photos of what happened, I was just devastated,” said Beebe, who intends to return to the village on Sunday to see what can be done.

He knows many residents want to preserve a visual component to the Belonging project, which also asked for their input on priorities for Delburne’s future.

The project’s organizer, Nora Smith, a Delburne Family and Community Support Services Worker, shares in the disappointment expressed by local residents about the lack of longevity to the mural component of the Belonging project — particularly since many local volunteers were involved with it.

“I’m certainly not thrilled. It’s frustrating that the murals have come down,” said Smith, who’s at a conference in Toronto and saw emailed pictures of the destruction.

Considering that only about 15 per cent of the photos remain on the walls — and most of these are in pieces — she does not believe it will be possible to salvage the original murals. “We’ll need to clean them up.”

Smith is asking for community input about what can now be done to ensure the spirit of the project lives on in some more permanent form.

There was mention of compiling the digital photos into a book. And Beebe suggested he could also consult with outdoor advertising experts to see how a more weather resistant version of the pictures could be installed in the village. He said it’s up to local people to tell him how they want him to proceed.

Residents of Delburne have been expressing their disappointment online. Some are upset that the Belonging project cost $50,000 — but Smith noted that this total also included all the community consultations done to determine that expanded services, downtown revitalization and an improved communications strategy in the village were priorities for the future.

Of the total spent, she said about $6,000 went to the actual installation of the murals.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Manslaughter charge laid against Red Deer man more than a year after homicide

A manslaughter charge has been laid against a Red Deer man, more… Continue reading

Woman facing charges after pedestrian critically injured in hit and run

A woman is in custody in connection with an alleged hit and… Continue reading

Friday hail storm came at a bad time for farmers

Amount of damage a hail storm does often depends on how far along crops are

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Man suffers critical injuries, Red Deer police arrest woman in pedestrian crash

A man is in hospital with critical injuries and Mounties have arrested… Continue reading

Cull hasn’t been able to solve bunny burden in Alberta mountain town of Canmore

CANMORE, Alta. — Problems persist in an Alberta mountain town overrun with… Continue reading

Canada should help Holocaust denier on trial in Germany: civil liberties group

OTTAWA — A civil liberties group is urging the Canadian government to… Continue reading

Westerner Days: Send us your photos

Your reader photo may just make the pages of the Adovcate.

Adam Henrique signs $29.1M, 5-year extension with Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Centre Adam Henrique has signed a $29.1 million, five-year… Continue reading

Fashion firms upend design routine to focus on speed, trends

NEW YORK — Prototypes? Passe. Fashion company Betabrand saw that knitwear was… Continue reading

Trimming and tidying: Perennials need care too

The great attraction in growing perennial flowers is that you never have… Continue reading

Johnny Depp settles lawsuits involving former managers

LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has settled lawsuits with his former business… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month