When Louisville-based graffiti artist Riley Gregor visited Marion to complete a mural on the wall of Plenny Farms in May, he knew his work in Marion was not over.
Marion business owner Bill Reece took Gregor on a tour of the city, introducing him to his friends at the Grant County Rescue Mission’s (GCRM) Life Change Program.
“Personally, I am two and a half years sober, and I’ve been through a treatment program here in Louisville. So anything I can do to get involved with the recovery community is absolutely what I am all about,” Gregor said. “I knew coming back that if the opportunity was still there, I was going to jump on it.”
This week, Gregor returned to Marion to graffiti the GCRM food ministry box truck completely freehanded and free of charge.
Gregor painted the organization’s logo on the back of the truck, and their mission statement, “Life change happens here” on the side, as well as a personal piece on the other side.
“So basically when it’s being followed, (the logo) is what you are going to see,” Gregor said.
Executive Director of GCRM Rick Berberia said the artwork meant the world to the GCRM team.
“To me, I think it’s beautiful. I think it speaks volumes about who we are and what we do,” he said. “We’re just so thankful that Riley would ever even think about us, and just the blood, sweat and tears he put into that just spoke volumes to us.”
Gregor said he believes the GCRM “turns people’s lives upside down.”
“What I see the Rescue Mission can do is take someone from a very hopeless state of mind and turn them into an advocate for recovery,” he said. “The Rescue Mission takes guys out of the gutter and gives them a place to go.”
When Berberia told Reece the mission needed someone to paint its truck, Reece connected Gregor with them.
“When they needed the truck painted, for me, it was kind of pulling together two elements that I love, which is public art and doing something for the Rescue Mission,” Reece said. “It was going to be really different and really cool.”
Reece works with men in the eight-month program and said the program allows people to detox and get back on track.
“The Rescue Mission, to me, is having one of the greatest impacts on Grant County of any organization,” Reece said. “It’s doing fantastic work in the life change program.”
Gregor and Reece said they are planning to continue the work they are doing together in Marion.
The duo is organizing their next project, “Graffiti Jam,” which will be a weekend where 10 artists paint 10 murals across Marion with the theme of “Growing Marion.”