West End, North End murals bring ‘sense of security,’ says Winnipeg artist

·3 min read

A local artist is now working on a new project, as he tries to bring a little more colour and brightness to Winnipeg’s back lanes.

“I believe that having colour and having art present just instils a little more sense of security in neighbourhoods,” artist Nereo Zorro said.

Zorro recently moved back to Winnipeg where he was born and raised, after spending time living in Mexico, and the 36-year-old said he started to notice a lack of colour in back lanes in neighbourhoods like the West End and the North End, and that many back lanes were often left unclean, and sometimes littered with trash.

He said that can give people a feeling that those back lanes are unsafe and should be avoided.

Zorro, who is a working artist, is now offering people the opportunity for a fee to have their back lane garage doors painted with elaborate murals, and he said he has already finished three murals in lanes in the city and has several more requests for jobs.

The murals are located at garage doors on properties on Langside Street, Westminster Avenue, and William Avenue.

“What I’m doing is the same as when they plant flowers in communities,” Zorro said. “It just gives a sense that you are safe, but when you see blank doors and walls and garbage that can make things look a little more unsafe.

“Having art instils a sense of safety, and by creating imagery it just shows a little more care for the community, and that can spread.”

Zorro said he also knows that in many neighbourhoods in Winnipeg, children and youth are often looking for things to do and activities to take part in, and he hopes that some might be inspired to take up art after seeing his work popping up in back lanes.

“It’s important for kids to see what can be created with creative minds, and then maybe that can spark a passion for art or for something creative, and that can be the thing that can really change a kid’s life.”

Zorro now has plans to continue painting murals on garage doors in Winnipeg and said he would also like to travel to paint similar murals all over the country.

He said he also likes the idea of creating art in outdoor and public places because it can be shared with and viewed by more people.

“Art has always been an interest of mine since a young age, and later on in my life I got back into my first love which is the creative, visual arts, and street art has always been something that I have thoroughly enjoyed and embraced,” Zorro said.

“I love the idea of public spaces as an open canvas that can be turned into an art gallery,” he said.

“I want to broaden and show that art can be everywhere, and be a reflection of our cities and how we feel about our cities and our neighbourhoods.”

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun