Arctic Gallery: Murals in a Winnipeg Alley

September 1, 2019
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Winnipeg Arctic Gallery - painting of a polar bear on a garage door
An artist in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada transformed her back lane with Arctic wildlife paintings

There are over 600 murals to be found throughout the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Mural Program has commissioned over 200 murals since 1994. The West End offers summer tours of its outdoor murals. Those murals tell the story of the city and the neighbourhood. In spite of the abundance of murals, you may not expect to find them in a residential back lane, but an alley in the Wolseley neighbourhood has become known for its collection of murals on the doors of garages and on fences.

Back lane with paintings on garage doors and fences

Artist and activist Kal Barteski is passionate about polar bears, sea ice, and environmental health. In 2017, she took her brush into the alleyway behind her house to create an Arctic Gallery. The paintings are stunning. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to linger in a back alley before visiting this one.

Caribou painting on garage door in Back Alley Arctic, Winnipeg
Painting of caribou running against orange background on garage in Artic Alley, Winnipeg
Painting of polar bear and cub on garage in Arctic Gallery, Winnipeg
Painting of a charging bison on a blue garage wall in Arctic Alley, Winnipeg
Painting of a white wolf on fence in Arctic Alley, Winnipeg
Painting of a lynx on a garage door in Arctic Alley, Winnipeg
Painting of an owl on a garage door in Arctic Alley, Winnipeg
Painting of white whales on black garage door in Arctic Alley, Winnipeg
Painting of a walrus amid sea ice on a garage door in Arctic Alley, Winnipeg
Painting of narwhals on garage door in Arctic Alley, Winnipeg
Painting of wolf in profile on a garage wall in Arctic Alley, Winnipeg
Painting of a polar bear on a fence in Arctic Alley, Winnipeg
Painting of two polar bears against a red landscape on a garage in Arctic Alley, Winnipeg

Back Alley Arctic is between Canora and Ethelbert Street, situated in the section between Wolseley and Westminster. Winnipeg Trolley Tours includes the alley on its 2 ½ hour Heart of a Nation City Tour. That tour provides a great overview of the city and includes some interesting stories. I took it a few years ago, before the Back Alley Arctic Gallery existed.

If you are looking for other murals in Winnipeg, the Murals of Winnipeg site is dedicated to documenting Winnipeg murals and outdoor art. Photographer Cendrine Marrouat has set out on a mission to photograph all of the murals for her The Murals of Winnipeg project. As of August 2019, there were 194 photos on her site.

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Arctic Alley. Murals in a back lane. An artist in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada transformed her back lane with Arctic wildlife paintings. #Winnipeg #Manitoba #Canada #art #murals #streetart

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  • Reply
    Ken Dowell
    September 1, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    I’m a big fan of public art. Great seeing all those murals. My personal favorite is the owl.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      September 5, 2019 at 11:18 am

      Ken, I too am a big fan of public art. These paintings are very good. I don’t think I can pick a personal favourite, although I am particularly drawn to the polar bear fence and the two polar bears against the orange background.

  • Reply
    Cendrine Marrouat
    September 3, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Thank you for the mention, Donna!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      September 5, 2019 at 11:20 am

      You’re welcome Cendrine. I’m impressed with your Murals of Winnipeg project. Great project.

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