Murals make our communities more beautiful. From colorful paint splatters on downtown office buildings to intricate graphics on coffee shop walls, murals are essential elements of public art and good urban design.
Rachel Lyon has been painting murals in Calgary for the past five years. The Ontario College of Art and Design graduate and principal of Rachel Lyon Design Co. is often commissioned to transform residential and commercial spaces with her creative arsenal of home paints and brushes. In January 2024, a very long mural she painted as a backdrop that was destined for the trash heap was auctioned off for charity. This was the stroke of genius for a fundraising performance called Paint with Purpose, which will debut at the Calgary Home and Garden Showfrom February 22 to 25 at the BMO Center.
“Painting murals can be intimidating at first. I will be teaching four aspiring artists and giving them an intensive course in mural painting. Then we’ll go paint live at the Paint with Purpose booth at the home show,” Lyon says. Each mural will be sold via silent auction with proceeds going to an organization of the artist’s choice. Bidding will be held online from February 22 at noon when the exhibition opens until February 24 at 9 p.m.
Artists will work from smaller designs they have created and paint an eight-foot by eight-foot board using six colors pre-selected by Lyon. Their mural must reflect the “Cozy Garden” theme and each artist must complete their 91-square-foot masterpiece during the four-day exhibition. The four Calgary artists and their corresponding Instagram accounts are: Leah Queen @leahqueenartSasha Willson @chaosandartcreationsSterling Smith @sterlingsmithyycKrystelle Celestino Wurtz @krystelle.creaciones.
“Paint with Purpose is about raising awareness about meaningful organizations in our city, and for me, teaching and learning art makes it accessible to everyone. I feel like it’s a perfect way to do it,” Lyon says.
Public art is becoming more common and popular in major cities, but Lyon says there are many residential applications. Anything can be a canvas, from the side of the garage in the backyard to a bare wall in the basement. For the homeowner, a mural is unique, customizable, and more affordable than you might think.
“There are many factors. The size is the largest. The level of detail, the surface it is painted on and whether the muralist is new or experienced,” he states. The fee is based on price per square foot and can range from $10 to $50.
Lyon will be at the Calgary Home and Garden Show daily with her students and will be available to chat with show attendees. As an artist, she plans to personally continue her mission of Painting with Purpose throughout 2024.
“In the future, I will donate the profits from my commissioned murals to different organizations. Giving back to the community is one of the values of my business, so I am excited to get started with this,” she says.
For information on Paint with Purpose and other features during the Home and Garden Show, visit calgaryhgs.com.