Inspired by homicide victim, local artist hopes to help others
The inside of the Kaladi Brothers Coffee on Brayton Drive is cozy, warm and intimate. It’s a stark contrast to the dark East Anchorage intersection where Treyveonkindell Thompson – known to friends as Trey – was found dead on July 29. Yet in the back room of the coffee shop, you can find a collection of paintings, each one depicting a ribbon.
They were all painted by artist Carrie LeBaron, a close friend of Thompson. The first one she painted depicts a black and red ribbon, a symbol of solidarity for family and friends of homicide victims. LeBaron said she was inspired to paint it after attending Thompson’s funeral and seeing the ribbon pinned on mourners’ clothing.
“Trey had a smile that was really contagious. Literally, he couldn’t not smile,” LeBaron said, describing Thompson, who lived in her home for about 18 months after he stayed in the Covenant House and was searching for a place to live. “It was very difficult for everybody, because we really did love him so much.”
She considered Thompson part of her family, and said the loss was even more devastating for his biological mother.
“It’s a definite loss in our family unit, and in his family unit even more than ours,” LeBaron said.
Police have struggled to make progress in the investigation of Thompson’s death. They released a sketch of a person of interest, alongside a picture of the type of bike he was with when he was killed, but have not made any arrests.
“As much as I really want justice for him, the person or people who did this, they need help, too,” LeBaron noted.
Next to the painting of the red and black ribbon hangs another with a solid black ribbon. This one, LeBaron said, is for gang-violence awareness. Scattered on the walls around the room are paintings of ribbons in other colors. LeBaron said after painting the ribbons in memory of Thompson, she was asked to make others in the name of different causes. For instance, there are pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness.
There are roughly 60 paintings in all, and each is for sale. Half of the money from each sale will go to a local organization that corresponds with the color of the ribbon. For the two paintings dedicated to Thompson, the money will go to his family.
“I’m so thankful that they brought him into this world,” LeBaron said. “I’m so thankful they loaned him to me and our family for the amount of time that they did.”
The paintings will be in the Kaladi Brothers coffee shop on Brayton Drive until the end of October.
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