On Friday August 15, 2014, ten groups of creative people mounted installations in the alleys of Winnipeg’s West Exchange District as part of Urban Idea’s Creative Placemaking Challenge. Charged with reinventing an alley for one day, each group provided passers-by with the opportunity to look at space differently, to engage in a wide variety of activities, and to experience first-hand how embedding creativity and the arts into our neighbourhoods can be transformational for cities.

Throughout the day, thousands of people interacted with the ten installations. You could attend a performance piece or a lecture on gardening. There were hammocks to relax in and a lawn to lie on and stargaze. A video installation transported you to a sailboat on Lake Winnipeg, while another let you watch a cat chase a laser pointer. The area was bordered at one end by a poetry-infused market and at the other by a 2 storey diving board and tank. Whether mapping out their own area of the city or just having fun blowing bubbles, there was something to capture everyone’s attention, and to get people thinking about the endless possibilities of these spaces.

The Creative Placemaking Challenge was about celebrating the City and the art of creating possibility, and people came out in droves to do just that.  We are pleased with the efforts put in by Winnipeg’s arts and creative communities, and equally so with the public reception of the event. See some of the photos from the day below, or click the links to see some of the media coverage.

Metro Winnipeg: Exchange District to get creative pop up makeover

CBC Manitoba: Winnipeg’s Exchange District alleys filled with bubbles, hammocks

CTV Winnipeg: 10 pop-up projects spruce up Exchange District

UM Today: UM Students, alumni exhibit their art in Winnipeg alleyways


All Photos by Leif Norman www.leifnorman.net