Welcoming Ottawa Mural Begins to Take Shape – By the Community for the CommunitySeptember 10, 2018
During the summer of 2018, a group of dedicated artists and community members gathered in Lowertown to begin painting a beautiful Welcoming Ottawa Mural. With each brush stroke the participants formed bonds, nurtured inspiration and began creating the palette of a transformative mural in our city.
The goal of this mural is to celebrate Ottawa’s diversity, underline the importance of inclusion, and enhance awareness of the contributions of newcomers to Ottawa. It will become a heritage component of Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW), an annual week of events created to convey the genuine welcome and hospitality of Ottawans to newcomers.
“My dream for this project is to bring community together, and grow together through art,” explains Claudia Salguero, the professional multidisciplinary artist who is leading the production of the mural. “This mural is an invitation to embrace our differences, to learn from each other and to become better human beings, stronger and healthier communities, not despite of our differences, but because of them.” Claudia designed the mural based on the inspiration from the conversations and brainstorming sessions hosted with the community.
The mural, which community members and artists came together to paint, is being created in pieces at several locations in the city by teams of newcomers (from more than 10 countries) and long-term residents, representing different cultures, languages, ages and genders, and including the special participation of Indigenous artists. Each of the 60, four by four feet pieces will join together to form the Welcoming Ottawa Mural which will be installed in the Fall of 2018 on the outdoor wall of an Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) building at the corner of Rideau and Wurtemburg Streets, a busy corner that connects downtown Ottawa with Montreal Road.
“It is wonderful to see the community come together to create such an important legacy dedicated to the beauty of diversity and inclusion,” says Hindia Mohamoud, Director, Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership. “This mural will be ongoing testament to the gift that immigration represents to our community and will serve to enrich Ottawa’s diversity and generous spirit”. This project was initiated by the WOW Working Group, of which Claudia is a member. It is a way to expand the spirit of WOW beyond the last week of June every year.
“The creation of the Wurtemburg mural brought together residents from across the city and showcased the diverse and inclusive nature of OCHC communities,” said Stéphane Giguère, CEO, Ottawa Community Housing. “The creative process that led to the mural’s final concept increased the awareness of the contributions of immigrants to our city. The artwork at 215 Wurtemburg will increase tenants pride of place and instill a stronger sense of community.”
By involving local artists and community members at each painting location, the project will offer participants technical and artistic skills development. This exciting mural is truly a project by the community and for the community.
Partners in the Welcoming Ottawa Mural Project
Ottawa Community Housing
Lowertown Community Resource Centre
Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership
Claudia Salguero, Professional artist and community arts based facilitator
To find out more about this mural or to become involved in the project, contact Claudia Salguero at www.claudiasalguero.com.