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This article was published 10/7/2019 (670 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Transcona may soon have to retire its "Park City" moniker in favour of something even more befitting: the "Public Art City," perhaps.
Over the past few weeks, not only were a pair of new public art pieces to were unveiled on the streets of Transcona, but a piece painted last year on the side of Sevala’s Ukrainian Deli was also named "mural of the year."
"I would love for Transcona to become the place when you think of public art projects and activities," said Alex Morrison, executive director of the Transcona BIZ, which is behind the current public art boom in the neighbourhood. "When people in Winnipeg think of art, I want them to think of Transcona."
On July 4 and 5, artists James Culleton, Rachel Lancaster, Glenna Evans, Leif Norman, and Darryl Neufeld could be seen painting segments of Bond Street’s sidewalks between Pandora and Regent avenues.
"We have this beautiful multi-use pathway on Pandora," Morrison said. "We thought we’d roll out the welcome mat and offer some enticement to follow the rainbow to the pot of gold, which is Transcona Centennial Square, where we have all our events, or visit the merchants downtown here."
"We were looking for colourful, with a bit of trompe l’oeil, a bit of 3D," explained Culleton, lead artist for the colourful new rug-like Welcome Mats series of sidewalk murals. "I like how people interact with that. It kind of makes a dead area a destination, connects the bike path and Regent downtown."
Kudos to the BIZ for transforming the neighbourhood into something completely different.
"People seem to love it," said Lancaster, an artist who grew up in Dugald, Man., who worked with Culleton on the rainbow mat. "I was super excited to do it, because artists don’t get a lot of opportunity to work together."
Morrison acknowledged that some people expressed concern that the BIZ was getting political with regard to the new mural.
"There’s no political statement, just colour and boldness," she said. "And from what I’ve seen, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive."
On July 9, the Transcona BIZ unveiled a new mural by artist Cathleen Hues on the north side of the Scout Hall at 110 Winona St.
"This mural project was a fun challenge that I wanted to conquer both physically and mentally," Hues said in a statement. "At its size, it is also the largest mural I’ve completed to date."
Earlier, on June 20, the Life Goddess mural on the east side of 126 Victoria Ave. was presented with awarded the "mural of the year" honour by themuralsofwinnipeg.com founder Bob Buchanan.
The boom in public art in the Park City is by design. Along with its annual mural budget, the BIZ has started a "public art fund."
"We’ve got a lot going on here. We want to be a place where everybody can express their creativity," Morrison said. "As long as BIZ members support that, we’ll continue to put more in the pot every year."
"Kudos to the BIZ for transforming the neighbourhood into something completely different," added Culleton, who grew up in Transcona and painted the mural on the side of Club Regent Casino’s parkade.
"It really brings the community together," Hues said of the investment in public art. "It’s wonderful to see the public embrace it."
The Herald community journalist
Sheldon Birnie is the reporter/photographer for The Herald. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112