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This article was published 7/5/2019 (997 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The artists have been selected, and eight more murals for downtown Brandon are starting to go up.
"We’re so excited, for sure," said Carly Gasparini, executive director of the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corp. and co-chair of the public art and murals committee with Elisabeth Saftiuk, executive director of the Brandon Downtown Development Corp. (BDDC). Other members include the City of Brandon’s community development department, the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (AGSM) and downtown property owners.
"I think our goal was to create some vibrancy and some energy downtown," Gasparini said, and the first two murals now finished have risen to the occasion.
On Monday, artist Miguel Rodriguez was busy putting the finishing touches on his mural on the side of the BNRC’s building at 440 Rosser Ave. The mural depicts a woman’s face, with an image of a bison behind her.
For the native of Colombia, who has lived in Brandon for about nine years, the mural, titled "Brandonite Woman," is about the fortitude of the women of this city over the years.
The mural also speaks to the contributions immigrants such as himself are making in Brandon, said Rodriguez, 39, a fine-arts student at Brandon University who owns a decorative concrete business.
"I’m so happy, because I think it’s a big opportunity for the immigrant people to show our skills," he said of being part of the murals project. "It’s a good chance to show who we really are."
This is Rodriguez’s second mural in Brandon. He also has one at Maple Leaf Foods that was done in 2010.
James Culleton, a Winnipeg artist and freelance upholstery designer, completed his mural, titled "Sun Spectrums," at 921 Rosser Ave. over the weekend.
His mural, which was selected last fall but did not go up then, is a geometric splash of brilliant colours emanating from three bright suns. It is located in an alleyway between a collections agency and TD Canada Trust.
The fine-arts graduate from the University of Manitoba has done numerous murals over the years, both in Canada and the United States, including one last year at Club Regent in Winnipeg.
Culleton, 45, said the 60-foot by 500-foot mural is the largest in Manitoba.
"After doing that one, no mural seems big anymore," he chuckled.
The one in Brandon is about 15 feet by 50 feet.
Culleton said murals helps give communities a boost.
"A lot of small towns or cities do murals, and it makes a big difference," he said. "It just brightens up the whole city."
Other murals going up this spring include: 630 Rosser Ave. (Nereo Eugenio); 704 Pacific Ave. (Emmanuel Jarus); 118 10th St. (Jason Botkin); 217 10th St. (Jerry Rugg); 315 10th St. (Mary Lowe) and 136 11th St. (Trevor Wheatly).
Gasparini said Lowe is the only other Brandon artist. The others hail from around Westman, Winnipeg and three from out of province: one from Saskatchewan and two from Ontario.
These murals are not the end of it for this year.
For the first time, Synonym Art Consultation’s Wall-to-Wall Mural and Culture Festival, which sees large-scale murals painted each September in Winnipeg, is heading outside the city and coming to Brandon at the end of July, Saftiuk said.
While details are still being worked out, the star blanket mural will be painted by Winnipeg artist Kenneth Lavallee, she added.
Since 2016, Lavallee, who is of Métis descent, has partnered with Synonym Art Consultation to present the Star Blanket Project as a major programming element of the festival. To date, four large-scale murals depicting Indigenous star blankets have been installed along Main Street in Winnipeg’s downtown and in the North End.
The festival in Brandon will also be hosting workshops for youths, Saftiuk said.
"It’s really exciting," she said. "We’re getting a lot of new murals, and it’s going to really brighten up and energize our downtown."
Last fall, artists Katy Slimmon and Andrea Steingrimsdottir painted a mural at 1126 Rosser Ave. that depicts geese flying over the blue hills. Their mural was selected last fall during the committee’s first call for submissions.
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