August 14th, 2020

Artists called upon for outdoor wall makeover at MH Retirement Villa

By MO CRANKER on July 30, 2020.

Kari Ursulescu spray paints a butterfly downtown behind the Medicine Hat Retirement Villa. Six artists were hired by the villa to clean up walls behind it. -- NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER

A big wall behind the Medicine Hat Retirement Villa is getting a facelift this week thanks to six local artists.

The retirement home noticed the wall was getting run down over time with graffiti and other inappropriate drawings. Villa staff decided it would be best to get professional artists to paint over the graffiti.

“We’re getting fancy graffiti done to cover up the old, not-very-nice stuff,” said villa promotions manager Ray Tone. “We’ve noticed a lot of murals and art going up downtown, and we’ve noticed an improvement in the areas those happen.

“When you get a nice mural put up, the people who tag things seem to respect it and leave that area alone.

“We hope people come down, see this art and enjoy it.”

Villa manager Lorraine Dalla-Longa says villa residents have commented on the old graffiti and are looking forward to the new art going up.

“Thy have commented on it in the past and I know they’ll love what is getting put up,” she said.

Dalla-Longa hopes more businesses follow suit with the art initiative.

“If other businesses do this, I think it will really help downtown,” she said. “There’s some amazing art downtown and we hope we keep seeing more.”

Tone says there is money available to businesses through the Downtown Development Incentive Program for grants.

Soncho Austin is one of the artists working on the wall, and says he and the other artists are happy to be involved in a project that makes downtown a better place to be.

“I saw Lorraine post on Facebook about needing artists,” he said. “I reached out and put this team together to get this done.”

The artists will be working all week at the wall.

The Villa is located at 530 Fourth St. SE. The wall is directly behind it.

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