For the fledgling Picassos and Pollocks at Brooklands School, it’s their first broad strokes into the world of public art.
Last week, some 150 students at the elementary school began putting paint to canvas on a massive mural slated to hang on the side of Eldon Ross Pool sometime this spring.
"It’s pretty cool. I’ve been wanting to paint all my life and I want my art to be published," said Grade 4 student Emily Irwin, as she filled in a section of water and crashing waves on one of the murals 12 boards.
Irwin and her peers across kindergarten and Grade 5 are working alongside St. James artist Mandy van Leeuwen, who has more than 50 murals across the city, many of them in St. James and the West End.
Featuring bubbling baths and steaming showers, drainage pipes, fish, turtles, canoes and polar bears, the mural will serve as a backdrop for the splash pad built at Eldon Ross, located at 1887 Pacific Ave. W.
"It seemed obvious to have a theme around water, but to also make you think about water while you’re there," van Leeuwen said.
"All these things are important: how we use water, where it comes from, where it goes."
Students laid down some 10 gallons of paint on the mural last week, which van Leeuwen hopes to mount sometime in the next couple of months.
"They’ve been great," she said.
"It’s a lot of fun, and a challenge to be creative on demand and show the kids how to do this properly."
The mural was commissioned by Take Pride Winnipeg! which has funded more than 200 murals in the city since 1997. The organization has said it wants to get more local youth involved in beautification efforts like public murals to give youth a sense of ownership in their communities.
Grade 4 student Aidain Pakulak said he wants to be an artist when he grows up and was quick to pick up a brush and cup of chocolate brown paint.
"I feel proud," he said.
"It’s me and all my friends’ work."
Area Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) has said the city is looking at turning the rundown tennis courts near the pool into a new basketball court or skatepark.