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Brentwood feeds the mind, and the stomach with weekend fundraiser

Nestled among the walkways and green spaces in the community of Brentwood is a series of surprises both beautiful and fulfilling.

And not just for art, although last Sunday’s inaugural art walk and food library fundraiser was a celebration of that which feeds the mind.

The event was put on by Brentwood Cares and the Brentwood Community Association.

“This is really a celebration event to celebrate those murals, to gather community, and many of the artists who helped paint those murals are here today as well,” said Cam Howey with Brentwood Cares.

Participants were able to pick up an art passport and map to help them to explore the community. Local Brentwood artists have placed 10 murals throughout the community.

The community has also created an online map that visitors can view, and they can download the art passport for themselves through the Brentwood Community Association website.

Making a beautiful community

Howey said that within Brentwood Cares, there was a discussion about how to make Brentwood a more beautiful community.

He laughed that they liked the idea of the Sunnyside murals painted on garages, so they ended up partially stealing from that.

“We we’re trying to decide, do we do like community alleyway gardens and be sort of bee friendly?”

“I love Sunnyside and their beautiful garages as you walk the alleyways … we fully admit we stole from them in terms of putting murals up through our community painted largely by local artists.”

Howey recommends that visitors looking for the murals use the map they’ve created, as it shows the walkway paths that don’t always show up when using Google Maps.

Local artist Nora Anderson, who is part of the community’s young artist program, created one of the murals located in south Brentwood. She said she created her mural for her friends.

“I’ve always wanted to do something based on this particular photo of my brother one time, jumping out of a swing. I just thought it was quite cool, because I had this picture of him jumping up and swaying and the sun kind of shining behind him,” she said.

Anderson’s mural combines a silhouette of her brother, along with geometric designs and bright beautiful colours.

“I wanted something with nice, clean, big shapes, as well as some smaller details,” she said.

LiveWire Calgary has created a virtual version of the art walk that shows some of the murals on display. For a full screen version, click this link.

Fundraiser addresses serious need for Calgarians

The event also helped to re-fill the community’s food library, which offers free non-perishable items year round for those in need. The library was created during the pandemic as community members began noticing the rise in food insecurity.

And such is the continued demand, that during the time that LiveWire Calgary was performing interviews about the food library, two people stopped by to gather items.

“We named it food library because when I was first looking around for a box right after Covid had started, one of our friends had a book library that they were willing to repurpose. So we just ended up saying it’s a food library instead of a book library and it kind of stuck,” said Liza Lorenzetti.

Lorenzetti and her husband restocks the food library three times a day. She said that its open to all Calgarians to use, and not just the ones in the inner city.

She said that the box serves an important service, by allowing individuals to take food anonymously.

“As a social worker for the past 30 years, what I have noticed is that when people want to access support like food, it can oftentimes be demoralizing for them,” said Lorenzetti.

“They can be under the scope of eyes, and they may not want to share what’s happening in their lives and how they’ve come to the situation of not having a food security,” she said.

The box allows those individuals to take without having to answer questions, or prove a need, because as she said “we all could be that person from one day to the next.”

Brentwood at the forefront of social support

Lorenzetti said that the community has really supported the food library, and other social initiatives when people are in need. And that meant making sure there was a social support aspect to the weekend’s art walk.

“This is absolutely a collective venture, and so when the planning was underway for the art walk, a big component of that was ‘people are coming out, let’s ask them to bring in a couple of cans, some rice, some granola bars for the seniors,'” she said.

She said that because of this, there has been a greater recognition of the importance of community strength.

“I think that there has been this upswell of community care of prioritizing relationships, what we mean to one another as human beings, and these are the quiet things that are going on maybe people don’t notice them as much and they don’t get media attention,” she said.

“The art walk and the gathering really is an example of our community strength, believing in one another, respecting differences and diversity, bringing our skills together—all those things, which I think is the real story of the pandemic.”

Donations of non-perishable items can be made directly to the food library at 3624 Boulton Road NW. Perishable donations can be made to Lorenzetti, who said that the community network would distribute those directly to those in need.

For more information see the Brentwood Cares website though the Brentwood Community Association.