OKUDART: Art for all

okudartIf you’ve been watching the news, listening to the radio, scrolling through Twitter or walking around Old Strathcona, you’ve probably seen or heard about the new, bold, six-storey high mural being masterfully created in our downtown core – in only a few short days. What we love most is that it has brought people together to champion accessible art in Edmonton!

The mural - which has already become an Edmonton icon - is the work of world-renowned Spanish artist, Okuda San Miguel. Okuda’s art, known as OKUDART, is beautiful and visually interesting, but more importantly, its presence on buildings, rather than in them, brings the experience of art and design to all - no degree or admission fee necessary.

At Roundhouse, we value inclusivity. Our identity is all about community - a space and a culture where all voices hold equal value. Street art has long been censored, scoffed at and considered less legitimate than canvas pieces in galleries.   The fact that our city has united in pride over a stellar piece of street art exemplifies how it can break down barriers, and we’re totally into it.

The popular project was initiated by Edmontonians Michael Maxxis and partner Melanie Swerdan, who own the trio of restaurants located in the building that will wear the mural. Annaliza Toledo and Trevor Peters of Rust Magic helped activate Edmontonians to support the campaign, and with some extra cash to spare, other murals will soon follow in Old Strathcona.  Talk about people coming together to generate big impact!

Why is it important to bring art to all? As the GoFundMe page for the project says “Art inspires. It widens perspective. It stirs thought. It reminds us that anything is possible and to follow our dreams.”  Who doesn’t need some of that in their lives?

When asked about the mural’s inspiration, Maxxis said, “It’s full of colour. It touches a little on oil, our wild dogs and wild cats, and it’s a symbol of unity and coming together. It represents Alberta in a colourful and abstract way.”

Photo courtesy of Cherie Klassen (twitter).