A local art initiative says they were inspired by a Christian punk band to use art to spread joy.
The image of a flying blue bird accompanied by a logo reading "Press On Winnipeg" is catching the attention of both outdoor and art enthusiasts. The anonymous street art project organizers say they hope people find inspiration when they see the bird.
The group says they want to spread positivity and encouragement and have good things from people. They say have heard of people viewing their art for a number of purposes, ranging from using it as an excuse to take a walk to hunt for the birds.
"Art can be a really deep and fascinating way in which we experience something greater than ourselves," an anonymous representative from the group says. "Others have had spiritual experiences where they have shared that when they have seen our art that they have had experiences with God or Jesus."
The representative says they want people to have a spiritual connection to art and is glad to see it happening with their work.
They say the name, Press On Winnipeg, comes from Relient K's "Pressing On." Relient K is a Christian punk bank from Ohio.
"That is actually what inspired one of us to start this project."
While they were inspired by the band 10 years ago, their intention since the beginning is simple: to spread happiness.
The movement is now catching the attention of thousands as the group ramped up their efforts during COVID-19.
Active since beginning to share their work on the Waterfront Bridge a decade ago, the group has only recently joined any form of social media. Their Instagram account was created in the spring after Winnipeg joined the list of cities affected by COVID-19. They currently have over 4,700 followers and say it is a great way to interact with people.
"When we only had 30 followers, one of the 30 followers in all of our group was actually the person that caught us."
The group tries to stay anonymous and has only been caught putting their art up on a handful of occasions in the past 10 years. They say they try to be respectful regarding where they put their art and use special screws when posting their signs on trees and do not put art on occupied buildings unless requested.
Press On says they have received very little negative feedback.
"The whole idea of it was to share some happiness and hope with Winnipeg."
The group shares art and the image of the bird both in Winnipeg and now outside the perimeter in unique spots.
Press On hints that the next Winnipeg location to see their work will be "very very high up."
Now taken down for the winter, Press On shared that their Wall of Hope installation was fulfilling its purpose.
"The idea of it was to create this wall for people to be able to express themselves, to be able to create art that signifies hope for themselves."
The tall structure acted as a gallery wall for people who wished to showcase their hope and what helps them "press on."
Now waiting in storage, Press On promises that the wall will return.