Thanks to the generosity of the Calgary Foundation’s Neighbour Grant, Closer to Home engaged a local artist, Ryan Nordlund, to facilitate and create a community-based mural in Edgemont.
Meet the Artist, Ryan Nordlund
Woven into the social fabric of the community, Ryan Nordlund is a neighbourhood visionary of public engagement. With his start in sculpture at Alberta University of the Arts (formally ACAD), Ryan has invested time into many initiatives in Calgary and across the globe to Africa, participating in a non-profit art project with the OSU Children’s Library Fund (Canada and Ghana). Through his love of art, teaching and community, Ryan has created spaces for community engagement.
Ryan’s curiosity about how people interact and how spaces, places, and organic events take shape has led to his passion for creating community events. He engages with people using simple models like outdoor movies, dartboards, basketball courts, Ping-Pong tables and now interactive murals. He intends these to be informal and spontaneous events that create urgency for the neighbourhood to join in.
I’ve done lots of community engagement projects with people experiencing homelessness and with young people, and over the years, I’ve become quite engaged with my community. I have been doing many activities, like outdoor movies and dartboards; I also set up a basketball court in the parking lot near me, which has been quite successful.Ryan Nordlund
Edgemont Community Mural
With Ryan’s many community connections and relationships, he was introduced to Closer to Home’s Program Coordinator, Minoush, from the North Central Family Resource Network, who saw Ryan’s passion and willingness to create collaborative and innovative spaces for others.
I value Ryan’s commitment to the community. He does it because it’s a good thing to do — not because he expects anything in return,” says Minoush, NCFRN Program Coordinator. “He provides hope for the community. He is calm, engaged and passionate. He truly cares about the community and has hope for the youth.
Ryan has three key intentions through this mural:
- affirm a sense of community ownership and representation,
- embody those who lived there at that time, and
- be interactive through a chalk paint feature.
Ryan created the mural with the help of his own kids and the children, youth and families who live in the area.
Ryan pictured this mural as a creative gathering space and a safe place for kids to be kids. He wanted the community to have a feeling of ownership and pride when they looked at the mural, so he chose the “Doodle Grid” concept which invites all ages to doodle what they want.
This will be an everchanging, dynamic and interactive mural for the community of Edgemont to create, imagine and inspire others for years to come. Thanks to Ryan’s vision and the Calgary Foundation’s generosity, the Edgemont mural is now complete and ready to enjoy.
And to all the community kids and parents who participated, thank you! This was made possible with your creativity and excitement.