Inspired to change community’s image
Published Wednesday, August 13, 2014 12:38PM MDT Last Updated Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:51PM MDT
A long-time Forest Lawn resident is trying to change how others view her community and is the CTV Calgary Inspiring Albertan this week.
A century ago, the area just east of Calgary was mainly farmland until homesteaders formed a community that soon became known as Forest Lawn.
The settlement grew into a town and became part of the City of Calgary in 1961.
The area has gained a bad reputation over the years because of a high crime rate but many residents and business people are working at changing that perception.
Singer-songwriter Phyllis Wheaton lives in Forest Lawn and is a major force in that campaign.
“I could see there were things that people who didn't live here didn't know about our community. The amazing diversity, the restaurants on our street, over 80 just on 17th Avenue alone, ranging from places like Africa, Europe, Middle East,” said Wheaton.
That diversity was celebrated when 17th Avenue became known as International Avenue.
Artbox, on 17th Avenue and 42nd Street S.E., was the home of Mills Paints and sat empty for a long time until it became a meeting place for the community.
Amadee Waters is with the International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone and says Phyllis Wheaton is a valuable resource at Artbox.
“Phyllis brings a certain energy to Artbox that is exactly what Artbox needs to build the community that we're trying to build. Her passion for finding out what Forest Lawn is about,” said Waters.
Carla Pelkey is delighted to have some of her art on display at Artbox and gives a lot of credit to Phyllis for what the place has become.
“It's been amazing. I'm so happy to be a part of her project and especially involving music. Like music to me is always a big part of the art process,” said Pelkey.
Janey Luc-German is another artist who's inspired by Phyllis.
“To think that she interviews all those Forest Lawn residents here and put all those information into a song which is incredible,’ said Luc-German
For what she's doing to help Forest Lawn restore its pride, Phyllis Wheaton is our Inspiring Albertan this week
(With files from Darrel Janz)