This large-scale outdoor mosaic project was spearheaded by youth from its inception. Youth worked together with Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA) staff to apply to be matched with an artist through WAC's Youth WITH ART community public art program. After a rigorous review and interview process, the youth chose artist Dimitry Melman to collaborate with on an artwork that would transform the outside of the MERC (Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre) to better reflect all of the great things going on inside.
Over the course of a year, Dimitry worked with children and youth from the afterschool and evening programs to design, cut and lay out the tile for the mosaic. There were over forty children and youth between the ages of six and sixteen that contributed along with their families and other community volunteers.
The community wanted to reference sports, music, art, learning, creativity, teamwork, development, growth and opportunity in the artwork. They also wanted to honour the five volunteers who started the SNA by including five open doors and five figures. The life in the figures comes from the youth who posed for them. “ This public art installation is a celebration and tribute to the SNA and the community.” - Dimitry Melman, Artist
While the artwork was being imagined and created, the City of Winnipeg was working to further enhance the MERC’s outdoor space with the installation of a new play structure and green space.
“ Everything we do at SNA is about building relationships and connections with our youth, community members and the community we live in. Being able to improve, enhance and bring to life the outside space and the walls of the building is amazing! It highlights the dreams and opportunities we all work to make happen for our community and puts it into a beautiful artwork.” – Jamil Mahmood, Executive Director, SNA
Opening Doors was celebrated with a community BBQ at the MERC on October 17, 2016.