Can a mosaic mural prevent graffiti? Can photography instill confidence in new Canadians? Can restoring a dilapidated set of row houses turn around a struggling community?
The answer is YES.
And when the movers and shakers in the arts scene and community members of all backgrounds get together in Winnipeg March 8 and 9, they will be putting their collective heads together to come up with more ways that artists and communities can work together to make a difference.
Elwick Community Centre before and after (Tricia Wasney & William Eakin)
The Elwick Community Centre, here in Winnipeg, was a dismal looking, often tagged, concrete building until artist Dimitry Melman-Komar got together with members of the Elwick community. The resulting
mosaic is striking. And the work that went into transforming the centre brought neighbours together to take their community back.
Unveiling of photographic quilt, Eritrean women's photography group.
Over a two year period, artist Sarah Crawley mentored a group of
Eritrean women in the art of photography through the Winnipeg Arts
Council's WITH ART program. The concrete result, a quilt made
of photographic images, is on display at the Immigration Centre.
But there's more than a quilt. Participant Enderasu Teweldebrahan says "I built confidence. It helped me restore
some lost roles at home. I was able to be the teacher of my children in
photography and strengthen parental roles that were weakened during the
integration process in a new society." Now the group of Eritrean women have their own cameras and are mentoring more women in their community to master the art of photography.
Artist Rick Lowe founded Project Row Houses back in the '90's, in his hometown of Houston, Texas. It's a thriving arts and cultural hub now, that also addresses the issue of affordable housing. In 1997, Rick and Project Row Houses were awarded a silver medal by the Rudy Bruner Awards in Urban Excellence.
Rick Lowe will talk about that project tonight, March 8, at 7:30-9:30pm. at the Fort Garry Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre (222 Broadway, Winnipeg).