Ryan Jason Allen Willert stands by his recent mural at Turning Point. Carlie Connolly/Red Deer Express

Local artist paints murals for Turning Point

Ryan Jason Allen Willert wanted to give back to an organization close to his heart

On the wall by the front entrance of Turning Point is a mural of a buffalo and the symbol of Alberta with the LGBTQ colours going through it. It was all created by local artist Ryan Jason Allen Willert.

Willert, who currently lives in Red Deer, has been a full-time artist for about 16 years and a professional artist for the last three and a half.

His recent project for Turning Point took him around three weeks to complete, and it’s something that is close to his heart.

When he first moved to Red Deer, he was about 15 or 16 years old and the family he was staying with at the time sent him to what is now the Native Friendship Centre.

He spent a lot of time there as a teen, and when he was younger, he lived on the streets for a good three to four years – both in Red Deer and Calgary.

“There were centres like Turning Point in Calgary. They really took care of people like us on the streets and they treated us like human beings. It was nice to have those people out there watching over us and taking care of us.”

It has been 15 years since Willert has lived on the streets. At that time in his life, they didn’t have a place like Turning Point when he was in Red Deer, but when he moved to Calgary there were places like that, which, he said, made it a bit more bearable.

Although he never used Turning Point’s services, he wanted to show them that he appreciates the work they do.

“Turning Point is really out there in the community and they’re taking care of the people out there – not just street people, but all people. They have a big soft spot in my heart. I like that they’re out there treating people like human beings.”

He said that the mural he painted is of acceptance, love and compassion.

“Also, with the buffalo in my society – in Blackfoot Society – the reason I always paint the buffalo motif is because the buffalo always runs towards the storm instead of away from it. At the end of every storm is sunshine and it’s a good thing to use when someone’s trying to heal and trying to work on themselves.”

The other mural he painted runs along the back of Turning Point’s building, covering a lot of the graffiti. Willert primed the wall black, painting his signature tribal work on the wall.

Coming up, Willert will be taking part in his first solo art show Nov. 3rd at The Dandelion in Calgary from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

More of his work can be found on his Instagram at Stone Growth.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Elderly male has been located

Red Deer RCMP thank the public for their assistance

Alberta RCMP investigating email threats sent to multiple businesses

The email threats are demanding Bitcoin payment

‘I love this city’: Syrian refugee shares experience as a community volunteer

Volunteering has helped Ola Zeinalabdin find her voice in a new country

Celebrating diversity with Inclusive Schools Week

Westpark Middle School teacher says inclusive schools benefit everyone

RCMP Major Crimes Unit South lay charges in homicide

Rocky Mountain House RCMP responded to a call of a person in distress on the Sunchild First Nation

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

EU leaders vow to press on with ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline.

Powerful winds set to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island

The agency says winds in coastal areas will strengthen up to 70 kilometres an hour before the front moves inland and gusts reach 90 kilometres an hour.

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

Tourism minister postpones trip to China amid tensions between two countries

Tourism Minister Melanie Joly’s office says Canada and China have mutually agreed to postpone a closing ceremony next week.

Police across Canada probe bomb threats as U.S. authorities dismiss ‘hoax’

A police spokesman said the emails were the same as those received elsewhere in North America

France shooter killed Thursday during police operation

7 more being held by police in shooting investigation

Ex-Trump lawyer: Hush money paid over election concerns

Michael Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Most Read