Over the last four months, I’ve spent a lot of time walking. I’ve always been a fan of getting places on foot and since the world changed, it’s one of the few activities that allows relatively safe social contact, gives me some physical activity, and provides a change of scene and mental outlook.
Edmonton has a great system of river valley parks, which form the largest urban green space in Canada. It includes walking trails that wind through 22 ravines. Even though I’ve lived in Edmonton virtually all my life, I’ve only thoroughly explored one of those, the Mill Creek Ravine, because it’s the closest to where I live. It’s gorgeous, but as the months have worn on, I’ve felt the need to push my ravine boundaries. So when my friend Marilyn suggested we visit Kinnaird Ravine, close to her place in central Edmonton, I was happy to go exploring with her.
One of the coolest features of this ravine is a collection of more than 60 murals, painted by youth from the Boyle-McCauley neighborhood in inner city Edmonton. Sheets of plywood were delivered to some of the agencies that engage youth in art and community projects: the only direction they received was “Paint something.”
I’ve always loved displays of public art. They’re characterized by two of the features that, for me, should underlie all artistic expression – autonomy and accessibility. Marilyn and I found both in the KinnArt collection, which decorates a retaining wall that slopes gently downhill near 82 Street and 111 Avenue (for those of you who might like to take a wander down there sometime.)
We were amused, uplifted, and touched by the artistic stories of the outdoor gallery. Here are some of my favorites.
(Look below to see what’s happening between the carrots….)