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Fostering community spirit through the arts in Little Burgundy

Little Burgunday residents take part in large-scale mural aimed at revitalizing the neighbourhood. Sunday, July 24, 2016.
Little Burgunday residents take part in large-scale mural aimed at revitalizing the neighbourhood. Sunday, July 24, 2016. Courtesy MU

MONTREAL – Around 100 residents, paint brushes in hand, came out Sunday afternoon to splash some colour into Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighbourhood.

It was a day of collective painting, with old and young alike taking part in a large-scale art project aimed at revitalizing the area and preventing graffiti and vandalism.

Not only were participants adding colour to their neighbourhood, they were helping to recreate key elements of Little Burgundy’s social and cultural history, as envisioned by Montreal-based artist, Roadsworth.

From the importance of jazz, to a strong connection with the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Steel Company of Canada, the mural is meant to be a tribute to Little Burgundy.

The mural, made up of concrete panels, is located at Hydro-Quebec’s substation on St-Jacques Street and stretches from Richmond Street to Guy Street.

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The artwork was commissioned by Hydro-Quebec, and the project was organized by local non-profit MU.

MU’s mission is to turn Montreal into an open-air art museum and beautify the city one mural at a time.

Sunday’s event was aimed at fostering community spirit through art.

“Involving residents in the artistic process allows them to appropriate the artwork for themselves,” Elizabeth-Ann Doyle, MU’s artistic director, explained.

But more than that, she said it was a good excuse for neighbours to come together and build relationships.

While everyone was invited to come out and paint Sunday, Doyle said that there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Roadsworth is mentoring four Fine Arts students and Doyle estimates it will take the five artists the rest of the summer to complete the painting.