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.

Just Posted

Optimism remains for Red Deer hospital expansion

Red Deer’s incoming UCP MLAs both have been strong supporters of expansion

Sport of axe throwing growing in Red Deer

True North Axe Throwing wants sport to be ‘Canadian version of darts’

RDC cancels championship-winning golf program due to tight finances

Short season, small number of student golfers were also considerations

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

Dozens hurt in collapse of deck during wedding celebration in Langley, B.C.

LANGLEY, B.C. — Police say dozens of people were injured, some critically,… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25.5 million jackpot… Continue reading

Uber driver charged in two sexual assault investigations: Toronto police

Toronto police say an Uber driver is facing sexual assault charges in… Continue reading

PEI Green party candidate Josh Underhay and son killed in canoeing accident

CHARLOTTETOWN — With only a few days before voters were to go… Continue reading

Egyptians vote on changes that would extend el-Sissi’s rule

CAIRO — Egyptians cast their ballots Saturday on the first of three… Continue reading

Ex-Marine arrested in North Korea embassy attack in Madrid

WASHINGTON — A man suspected of involvement in a mysterious dissident group’s… Continue reading

New bout of heavy fighting in Yemen kills dozens

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni officials say heavy fighting in Yemen’s southern Dhale… Continue reading

Most Read