Artists paint murals in Edmonton LRT stations to promote diversity

Local artists are hopeful that the small brushstrokes they're making on the walls of an Edmonton LRT station will have a big impact.

'Hopefully they'll see them every day and get the messages over time'

Carla Rae Taylor, with the help of Dana Belcourt, is painting a mural recognizing the city's diverse communities in the Churchill LRT station. 1:15

Local artists are hopeful that the small brushstrokes they're making on the walls of an Edmonton LRT station will have a big impact. 

Carla Rae Taylor is painting a mural in the concourse of Churchill Station that honours missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

"Basically, we are taking the stories of diverse cultural communities and bringing them to the forefront of people's thoughts," said Taylor on Sunday, as she began drafting silhouettes on the walls. 

The mural is part of a project called Paint the Rails, which delves into important moments in the city's history. 

"It really is a thoroughfare," Taylor said of the station. "Hopefully they'll see them every day and get the messages over time."

A partnership between the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights and Edmonton Transit Service, Paint the Rails is one of the city's Canada 150 legacy projects.

In addition to Churchill, artists will paint murals in five other stations: University, Corona, Kingsway, Coliseum and Clareview. 

Artist AJA Louden will begin work at University Station in the new year. 

Timely topic

Starting with a tribute to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is significant and timely for many reasons, said Dana Belcourt, Taylor's apprentice. 

While there is a national inquiry underway, Edmonton Transit Service has launched a campaign called Respect All. 

"Getting everyone home safely is a really really important message," Belcourt said. "In this world, we need to stick together rather than pulling apart."

She hopes the project promotes greater understanding and acceptance. 

"Lots of people aren't really as familiar with Edmonton's history," Belcourt said. "They walk the streets every day, but everyone has a story to tell and this is kind of a way of telling those stories," 

@roberta__bell

roberta.bell@cbc.ca