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New mosaics a team effort

Elwick Village and Resource Centre's philosophy reflected in new artwork

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Ursula Neufeld is the artist behind Elwick Village and Resource Centre's new mosaic.

(JARED STORY, CANSTAR COMMUNITY NEWS, THE TIMES) Enlarge Image

Ursula Neufeld is the artist behind Elwick Village and Resource Centre's new mosaic. Photo Store

It takes a village…

Elwick Village and Resource Centre operates in tune with that old proverb, providing programs, resources and supports to children and parents in the Elwick neighbourhood.

And so when it came time to spruce up the face of its 1417 Fife St. location, Elwick Village turned to the community.

"We did some community consultation at some events we were doing, and asked people to give us their ideas on what community, family and the resource centre meant to them," says Kirstie Lindsay, Elwick Village co-director.

"We gathered those ideas up, many of which came from children, and then Ursula (Neufeld, a Winnipeg mosaic artist) worked with those ideas to create a facade for the front of our building."

Elwick Village’s new frontage consists of a few mosaics.

On the left side (when facing the building) there’s a piece consisting of houses, rolling hills and trees, which Lindsay describes as "Dr. Suess-ian."

The building’s new signage is made up of different components for every word. For instance, "Resource" contains keys, computers and other resources.

On the right side, Neufeld constructed a faux window, which contains the silhouettes of two people drinking coffee.

"It (the building) had no front window. It’s not very homey when you don’t have a window," says Neufeld, 56, who has been making mosaics professionally for six years.

"That’s one of the things I said to the folks, ‘What would you think if we tried something, if we put a window in the front that’s not really a window?"

"It looks so cool. I don’t think anybody in Winnipeg has ever done that one before."

Another cool component of the new facade is the mosaics on the side of the entrance, which were created by the children who use Elwick Village.

"They drew their families and then they mosaicked their families on the mesh," Neufeld says. "You’ll see these are their actual drawings, their actual rendition of their families. It’s wonderful."

Elwick Village’s mosaic project was made possible by an artist-in-residence grant from the Manitoba Arts Council, as well as funding from the Neighbourhoods Alive! LIFT fund.

Lindsay says Elwick Village interviewed a few mosaic artists, but went with Neufeld because they felt she best represented the centre’s community-first mandate.

"It was just her energy and the enthusiasm she brought to the project, as well as her commitment to working with the community to produce something the community felt like they had created," Lindsay says.  

"All of the pieces were put together by community, with Ursula leading. She was very much about collaboration and consensus and that’s what our philosophy is here."

For more information on Elwick Village and Resource Centre, go to www.elwickvillage.org

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