Winnipeg roads turning into art avenues with Cool Streets project

Streets in Winnipeg’s St. Boniface neighbourhood are being turned into a canvas through a new public art project.

7 artists painting crosswalks in St. Boniface

Cool Streets project creator and co-ordinator Stephane Dorge says it is important to recognize how streets play a role in our community. (Kelly Malone/CBC)

Streets in Winnipeg's St. Boniface neighbourhood are being turned into a canvas thanks to a new public art project.

The Cool Streets project will make road artwork at eight locations.

Creator and co-ordinator Stephane Dorge said it's a way for people to connect with all aspects of the city, including the roads.

"To me, it's really about creating a larger conversation about our roads. Our communities are really affected by our streets and people don't really think about that in depth," he said.

Roads are often meeting places where people go to find a patio on a sunny day or where the community gets together to celebrate big events, Dorge said.  

The project is also a great way to celebrate Canada 150 and the upcoming Canada Summer Games, he said.

"We are expecting 20,000 athletes and tourists to be here for the Games, so it seemed like a great moment to celebrate the community," Dorge said, adding it will help attract people to St. Boniface.

Cool Streets put a call out for artist proposals and in the end picked seven different artists.

Using stencils and a special spray paint they will work over the weekend to make the city streets into a gallery.

A map showing the seven St. Boniface locations for the Cool Streets project. An eighth location is in St. Norbert. (La Maison de Artistes Visuels Francophones)

The painting was scheduled to start Saturday morning, but with the rainy weather Dorge said he is now expecting it will start later in the day or on Sunday.

 In the end, Dorge said he hopes the project will send a message that streets aren't just for cars.

"We should make it inviting for people to get from A to B without using the transportation of a car," he said. 

with files from CBC Radio's Weekend Morning Show