COMMUNITY SPIRIT – Virgil Frencheater paints a mural on the side of a community garden downtown after being commissioned by the City of Red Deer.

Local man uses artistic talent to beautify downtown

  • Aug. 13, 2014 3:27 p.m.

A display of dancing wolves and other thrilling nature scenes has been erected alongside a community garden in Red Deer’s downtown area.

Virgil Frencheater, a resident of Safe Harbour Society’s Harbour House, an assisted living home to transition homeless people off the streets, could be seen in the last few weeks painting the murals after being commissioned by the City to do so.

Frencheater is well-known in the community for his artistic talents, including a mural painted near the Central Alberta AIDS Network Society, depicting a coastal landscape and orca whales.

He explained he was spotted by Jackie May, a member of the City’s social planning team while painting and she asked if he would be interested in painting the outside of a new community garden which would be placed downtown.

Frencheater explained he was thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase his unique style of art once more in the City and said, “It’s nice to be known as an artist and see my work when I walk through the City,” adding that he is doing it to better the community.

“I started doing art, just plain old art when I was young, I can’t remember when I started, maybe in Grade 2 – just drawing cartoons and little cars and stick men and then I became really involved in it and it became part of my life.”

While Frencheater was born in Rocky Mountain House and raised on the Sunchild Reserve, he has since made Red Deer home for many years, explaining how he moved here to be closer to his children.

“I watched my kids grow up here and go to school,” he explained.

“I raised my kids, they went to school, they had a home but now they are gone and had moved away so I’m just kind of free floating and doing what Virgil wants to do.”

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

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