As a leading real estate company, we have many unique opportunities to benefit the communities we operate in. In many cases, our buildings can act as blank cavasses ready to be painted on. Partnering with local artists allows us to support their work while beautifying our spaces, and that’s exactly what we did at Jasper One Eleven.
Managed by our residential team, Jasper One Eleven is a 20-story rental building located in the heart of downtown Edmonton.
In 2015, the City of Edmonton began a project to revitalize the downtown core. Approval was granted to revitalize Jasper One Eleven with the contingency that GWLRA was to contribute to the community by investing in public art.
Our team identified an opportunity to have a mural painted on the west façade of the building, and our consultant, Next Architecture, sent invitations to the Alberta Art Society requesting concept proposals from the art community.
“We asked that the artists who submitted proposals seamlessly intertwine our company values, elements of the province of Alberta, and environmental sustainability in their concepts” said Darcy Foster, Senior Project Manager. “We selected local artist Grady Wallace because we felt his vision best aligned with what we were looking for.”
Wallace is a self-taught spray paint artist who specializes in the art of stencilling with a large range of sizes and materials. He finds inspiration in wildlife, urban textures, and street and pop culture.
Like many things, COVID unfortunately delayed this project by three years. However, work began in May 2023 and is expected to be completed by the end of July.
Once finished, this mural will become Edmonton’s largest mural and the largest stencil mural a Canadian has ever painted.
You can find a description of the artwork by the artist himself, along with a rendering of the piece below. The project was recently featured on CTV News and you can view the clip here. We can’t wait to see the finished product.
The “Naturally Free” mural is symbolic of the diversity of Edmonton and how we all need each other to prosper. The bear represents courage; it is the protector and the healer. This represents the healing that has occurred in Edmonton since post colonialism and the need to protect our diversity. The wild roses represent refinement and how we will continue to improve our community and our learning. The bison in the Alberta plains embodies the unity, strength and stamina held by Edmontonians. The eagle suggests the freedom and the importance of honesty and truthful principles. The lodgepole pine tree is there to represent the growth of the community overtime and how we have tried to overcome the downfall of the past. The clouds in the sky with an incorporated wolf represent creativity and imagination.
This mural was designed to not only embody the mistakes of our past and acknowledge it but also to show the continual growth of our society toward a more diverse and united future. Another reason why I wanted this mural to incorporate nature and animals was because these past few years have been bleak and this mural will hopefully provide a sense of escape into nature in the heart of downtown. The mural will scale the full 20 stories of the building using stencils, paint sprayers, and spray paint. Large color blocks will ensure maximum coverage of the wall, keeping some of the existing concrete façade. I wanted the mural to flow in through the sky and out through the water to give the wall a sense of a natural flow rather than a rigid feel.