The Cool Street Winnipeg mural project is making a comeback for the fifth year in a row starting next week.
North Kildonan, St. Boniface, and St. Vital are set to have their local pedestrian and cyclist bridges painted to bring attention to the benefits of having these pathways connect neighbourhoods throughout the city.
Beginning with the three bridges at Bunns Creek Centennial Park, and then moving on to the five bridges that are built over the Seine River. A total of eight bridges are set to be painted during the summer.
Stéphane Dorge, the Cool Streets Winnipeg project organizer, says, "for the last five years I've concentrated on talking about the benefits of creating or building new pedestrian bridges in Winnipeg and to do that, we've been painting pedestrian bridges with different murals every year to try and encourage people to get out and explore those bridges."
While the project started with Dorge being a St. Boniface resident who was passionate about the usefulness of walking trails for pedestrians, he has gained support from local organizations to aid him with his project.
"We started with La Maison des artistes on Provencher Boulevard, which is a gallery, and they had applied for funding for us through a few sponsors," says Dorge. "Then I've shifted to collaborating with the CCFM...who receives, for the last two years, funding from the City of Winnipeg through a funding application called, Land Dedicated Reserve."
This year, the Cool Streets Winnipeg project has received funding for the Seine River bridges from city and community councillors, Jeff Browaty, Matt Allard, Marcus Chambers, and Brian Mayes. Providing the project with a total of $16,500.
While the bridges are being cleaned in preparation for the new murals to be painted, the artists involved in this project eagerly wait to start the process.
"There are four returning artists, and then there are four new artists participating in this year's project so far. They come up with the design, you know, complex enough for something that they would be proud in, but also working within the constraints of the budget."
While Dorge is also an artist, he wants to allow other artistic people to showcase their work. He calls himself the "backup artist," in case someone cannot continue working on their canvas.
"I really hope that kind of gets the creative critical thought going on. Hmm, this is a really great place. We really like the connections that it brings to our communities."
It is the hope that with these bridges, people can advocate for their counsellors to build more bridges.
Dorge says there is nothing on the record yet of new pedestrian walkways, but he says there has been some talk of potential projects popping up in the long term.
Due to the rainy weather, the project's start date, which was set to begin this week, is being pushed back to next week Monday.