Our most ambitious undertaking to date is our annual mural and culture festival, Wall-to-Wall, which takes place in Winnipeg every year for the entire month of September. Since its inaugural year in 2014, it has seen the creation of multiple indoor and outdoor pieces of contemporary street art across the city and has celebrated each new work with distinctive events. Partnering with many local businesses and arts organizations in order to provide employment and mentorship opportunities to artists, our festival aims to foster the growth of a grassroots street art culture and economy in Winnipeg.
With the third instalment of our mural and culture festival in September 2016, we focussed on activating new communities across Winnipeg, including the North End and Osborne Village, while returning to our core neighbourhoods, West Broadway and Downtown. As the skill sets of our Winnipeg street artist community grow, so do the sizes of the murals. In 2016 we executed multiple large-scale contemporary murals that will leave a lasting effect on the city and the imaginations of its residents. These murals were complemented by smaller, “street-level” works that allowed artists to develop mural-making skills, while still having a major impact on our communities.
In line with our mandate to build up a grassroots street art culture here in Winnipeg, we hosted professional street artists from across Canada to help mentor and collaborate with local artists. A pair of South-American-born artists from Toronto (Bruno Smoky and Shalak Attack) brought their signature bursts of neon colour and socially conscious content to The North End, activating the Dufferin Industrial area and the surrounding neighbourhood. Another duo from Toronto (PA System) collaborated closely with Synonym Art Consultation to bring Inuk artist Parr Josephee from Nunavut to Winnipeg to create a large-scale piece in the same area, while also mentoring local Indigenous youth.
Meanwhile, local established artist Kenneth Lavallee put his mark on the city with two mural designs that speak to his Métis heritage and commemorate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. They now activate the downtown area between The Edge Gallery & Urban Art Centre and The New Occidental Hotel and their creation served as a mentorship opportunity for Red Road Lodge Artists.