Building Community Through Art

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The Winnipeg art scene is known for its diversity and unique talent, along with several incredible art walks in places like the Exchange District and downtown, open to anyone who wants to explore the creativity and storytelling of local, national, and international artists. What you may not have heard of is the unique public art available for viewing at the Private Pension Partners buildings at Tuxedo Point, along Sterling Lyon Parkway. Public Art is an art form that reaches beyond the walls of a museum or gallery. Public art enriches the public space and enhances the environment, either indoors or out.

Private Pension Partners of Winnipeg, Manitoba has taken the unique step of merging architecture and public art to create unique narratives for the people who live within their buildings and the people of Winnipeg.

Creating art installations which span seven different buildings, Private Pension Partners deliberately set out to bring art and architecture together not only to demonstrate that a development company can engage with art, but also as the landlords, offering artistic experiences for the tenants that live within their community. Karl Loepp, COO of Private Pension Partners, who was at the helm of this unique approach to architecture and public art, states “Art is an important part of the culture of any community, and we look at the art we choose as an important part of the experience of our tenants.”

This unique art series was created by local Winnipeg artist Eduardo Aquino. Originally from Brazil, Eduardo teaches at the University of Manitoba and has lived in Winnipeg for over 20 years. Discovering his love for art as a child, Eduardo’s approach to art is simple—he responds specifically to the situation of each project, using whatever medium necessary to create the art.

The Murals – A Crash Course on Modern Art in the 20th Century

When Eduardo was first approached to create the murals for the buildings at Tuxedo Point, he began by researching the sense of identity of the people who live in each building. These are not generic people living in generic buildings, but are unique individuals who understand that their home is special and has a story as unique as they are. Responding to the project and the spaces available for the art, rather than forcing the art to fit the space, Eduardo began to create a series of thematic murals as a response to this sense of identity.

In the first building on Sterling Lyon Parkway, Eduardo, after learning more about the lifestyles of the people who live in the building and understanding their culture, created a collection based on pop culture. Eduardo calls this collection the start of his “crash course on 20th century modern art.”

In the second installation, the murals are based on the work of Bauhaus artist Josef Albers, who developed one of the first theories of colour applied to design. The Bauhaus stressed a more functional and direct approach to design, incorporating simpler colors, geometric forms and more modern approach to design.

A third set of murals located at the complex is a commentary on abstract and geometric art from 50s and 60s New York City. The three sets of murals straddles much of art history that defined the artistic affinities of the generations of inhabitants of the Tuxedo Point.

Taking Art Outdoors –The Hidden Gems Art Walk of Private Pension Partners

Living Room (Tuxedo Point)

A giant stainless-steel chandelier is the sculpture focus of the most unique public art hidden gems in the city. Beautifully illuminated at night, this art ‘living room’ is nestled in the courtyard between two buildings. The meaning of the art is simple—to bring the social aspect of living in a residential building into the outdoor world, with a ‘living room’ between the two buildings, to create a sense of social community and home.

Wishbone (Tuxedo Point)

The residents had asked that there be an outdoor are where children could play. Karl Loepp and his team had a vision. They didn’t want a typical playground, but rather an area where children could play and the adults could enjoy a cup of coffee and engage with each other. Drawing on his childhood memories of picnics with succulent roast chicken with the prized wishbone, Eduardo was inspired to create this large wishbone sculpture. True to its intention, people stop and look at it, talk about it with each other, and children play around the sculpture.

Wild Bergamot (LXTX)

Created to highlight the mysteries of the prairie landscape, the wild flowers, the large wild bergamot sculpture at LXTX is a reminder to all that while we live in the city, we are still part of the prairies. Located right across the plains of FortWhyte Alive, the sculpture creates a new sense of scale, with its towering height and bright colors intending to tap into the imagination of the people who live here and truly celebrate the experience of living in Winnipeg.

“One of the roles of public art is to find meaning in the place in which the art is located.” – Eduardo Aquino

Public art will always create conversation, and it is sometimes controversial. In fact, some may suggest that public art is an excess of money. But is this true? According to Eduardo Aquino public art generates quite the opposite. “Public art creates a positive chain reaction. As one person experiences and enjoys it, it creates a feeling of contentment or intrigue, ultimately leading to a richer everyday life. Public art is part of the new consciousness of what a place is about.”

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