Several more buildings in downtown Brandon will be embellished with an artist’s brush this year.
On Jan. 17, the city’s Public Art and Mural Committee opened a call for proposals for up to six additional murals in the city’s core area, bringing the total number to eight. The committee is made up of representatives from the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation (BNRC), the Brandon Downtown Development Corporation, the City of Brandon’s Community Development department, the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba and downtown property owners.
One mural highlighting Brandon’s “blue hills” has already been completed at 1126 Rosser Avenue. A second mural at 921 Rosser Avenue was also supposed to be painted, but this winter’s early arrival forced creators to hold their work until this spring.
“People can see the benefits of murals in how they create vibrancy in the space,” said Carly Gasparini, the BNRC’s executive director. “Studies show that murals are less likely to be defaced than a blank wall, but the overall goal is to make downtown as user friendly as possible. The murals and other beautification projects are a part of that.”
The Public Art and Mural Committee is collecting proposals on six more murals until Feb. 21. Artists from across the country can forward ideas, however, the art must portray some aspect of Brandon, the region and its citizens.
“We had quite a few submissions for the first two murals, primarily from Winnipeg and Brandon,” Gasparini said. “We look for local artisans as often as we can when we are doing it (reviewing proposals). We certainly want them to capture Brandon’s culture. We want the art to represent Brandon as much as possible and really represent the downtown community. Our goal is to highlight the vibrant and welcoming place that downtown is, so that’s what we’re looking for in submissions.”
In essence, the murals are being developed to reverse a perception among some people that downtown is not an attractive area to patronize, she added.
“There is lots of great shopping options and restaurants downtown and we’re using beautification and vibrancy to help dispel the myth that the area is undesirable,” she said.
“Downtown offers a really unique experience that strip or shopping malls can’t offer. Residents and businesses downtown create a community and we want to make it a community that people want to be a part of.”
In its press release announcing the call for proposals, the BNRC suggested that colorful and modern murals on currently blank surfaces would “announce to our community that downtown Brandon is undergoing an exciting transformation and is becoming an increasingly vibrant neighborhood in our city.”
For more information about the call for proposals, contact Gasparini at (204) 729-2495 or email her at email@example.com.