Wesley Andreas has set his mind on beautifying and connecting the communities that surround Alberta Avenue. He’s focusing on the alleys in particular.
“We thought maybe we could do something more colourful,” he said. Andreas is the founder of the Animate the Avenue Alley project. He started last year with a project on his own fence and garage. “We had been wanting to paint our garage anyway, so we used it as an opportunity to do something interesting with our garage painting, rather than just repainting it white.”
Following the success and positive feedback Andreas received, he wanted to expand the project and use it as a way to connect the communities surrounding Alberta Avenue.
“It’s about getting people connected with each other in the neighbourhoods. I think some people come to this area for festivals, but they only see the commercial street, and they don’t really spend a lot of time in the neighbourhoods. They might have some perceptions about the neighbourhoods that we can maybe change by showing something positive.”
Andreas found the opportunity to connect with people through the collaborative network at Make Something Edmonton and a project they are working on called 100In1Day. On June 4, the organization has set the goal of completing 100 small projects in one day. They’ll bring together hundreds of Edmonton artists and volunteers to work on those projects to improve the city.
Andreas said he wants to see 10 Animate the Avenue Alley projects this year. If you are thinking about getting involved but worry you might not have the talent, don’t fret.
“Some people might feel that it is sort of intimidating to come up with an artistic project if you don’t feel like you’re creative yourself,” Andreas said. “I would say I am creative; I am not an artist. I figured if I can do it, other people can do it too. They might just need some support.”
Knowing that finances may be a barrier for some people, Andreas contacted the city and Arts On the Avenue to see if they could help.
“We are providing funding to purchase supplies, up to $100, to help offset the cost of doing the project,” Andreas said.
“I am hoping that once people see it and experience it, maybe it will expand to other areas,” said Judy Allan, the city’s revitalization co-ordinator for the area.
Animate the Avenue Alley Project will be holding an inspiration and brainstorming meeting on May 2 at 7 p.m. at The Carrot.
“We are going to have artists, more team members and get people to start planning out their projects,” said Andreas.
If you are interested in taking part in the project or becoming a volunteer, email Andreas at Animate.The.Alley@gmail.com.
Animate the Avenue Alleys Brainstorming & Inspiration Meeting
Feature Image: Andreas’ completed garage is an example of the project. Credit: Supplied