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This article was published 10/10/2017 (735 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The New West Hotel on 786 Main St. is a new symbol for North End revitalization after a recent facelift.
The façade on the corner of Sutherland Avenue and Main Street is now painted with a distinctive black and white illustration, created by a mix of local artists and artists from Montreal.
On the other side of the hotel and on one of Medi-Care Pharmacy’s walls at 794 Main St., the artist mentorship program by Graffiti Arts Programming and Synonym Arts Consultation’s Wall-to-Wall program brings predator and prey together in two new murals, sending a message that the location is a peaceful meeting place. Life Together is a collaborative work done by local artists Pat Lazo, Gabrielle Funk, Travelling Sign Painters, Jessica Canard and Siyee Man.
Likewise, two star blankets by Kenneth Lavallee and Annie Beach are going up within a couple of blocks with the same purpose — revitalize the North End and instil a sense of community pride. All the projects were completed during the North End Arts Weeks which took place from Sept. 23 to 30.
"It seems like everybody truly gets the whole project. It feels like they truly own it and that it’s transforming the neighbourhood," Andrew Sannie, North End Community Renewal Corporation recreation and wellness liaison, explained. "They talk to us all the time when they see us on the street ‘You’re doing a good thing. Keep going. You’re transforming the look in my neighbourhood.’ It feels like people care."
Sannie added they would like to transform the North End area into a walking art park, where people could park their cars and walk around the neighbourhood to appreciate the work that the artists have done. But most importantly, this project is about changing people’s opinions of the neighbourhood, both within and outside of the community.
"We are opening up the dialogue to start talking about this neighbourhood and possibly open up dialogue to start talking about how we can revitalize this neighbourhood and deal with some of the issues," he continued.
Montreal-based artist Marie Clementine Baldassari came to Winnipeg for the first time to work on the New West Hotel project. Her work was deliberately done in black and white because according to her, it’s the most efficient way to unify different styles.
"It’s all spontaneous and collaborative. Nothing is planned. We are building it together," she said, adding she was thrilled to be contributing to such an important project. "It’s out for people, by people. We don’t impose anything. Everybody can interpret anything that they want. There are so many details, so many drawings that there’s no end. You can always find something new."
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti is the community journalist for The Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org