14-year-old artist brings hope to visitors at Calgary COVID-19 test site

Muriel Charlebois, 14, painted a HOPE mural at the COVID-19 testing site at Calgary's old Greyhound bus station. Supplied to Global News

What was once a rather bland space at a COVID-19 testing site in Calgary has been given a much-needed facelift and a sense of hope thanks to a 14-year-old girl.

Muriel Charlebois went for a coronavirus test a couple of months ago at the old Greyhound bus station. Having spent much of pandemic painting and taking photos, she thought the area could use a bit of inspiration.

“It calms me. It helps me focus and sort of get rid of anxiety or stress or whatever is in my life at the moment,” Charlebois said of her craft.

Read more: ‘There’s so much pain’: Art shows mental toll COVID-19 taking on youth, expert says

So the 14-year-old reached out to Alberta Health Services with the idea of painting a wall mural at the site. The health authority agreed and Charlebois got to work, painting on the weekends.

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The large open sky with the word “HOPE” now greets everyone who comes to the COVID-19 test site. It was inspired by the skyscapes she and her friends have been photographing at a local dog park, to pass the time during the pandemic.

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“It has definitely been a very important part of COVID and getting through COVID with my friends, just coming down here and enjoying the view and all the nature.”

Muriel Charlebois, 14, painted a HOPE mural at the COVID-19 testing site at Calgary’s old Greyhound bus station. Supplied to Global News

Her message of HOPE is meant to inspire and bright a bit of light to those who visit the site.

“I think a lot of people my age especially are going through a lot of different mental health issues, dealing with stress, anxiety, depression.”

“Having a message like that, especially in a health services space like that, is pretty important just to remind people that everything is going to be OK and we’re going to get through it together.”

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Charlebois encourages people to take photos with the mural. She has started an Instagram account to share her work. You can follow her at @muriels.murals.

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