Indigenous artist Kenneth Lavallee, Annie Beach and other local artists will be wrapping the outside of the building in a Star-Blanket inspired mural. 

The building is home to the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre, the University’s ACCESS education program, as well as community-learning programs.

“The Helen Betty Osborne building is a place where the university and our neighbors come together to share, learn, and build brighter futures for young people in the community through impactful programs that honour Indigenous culture,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, president and vice-chancellor at the University of Winnipeg. 

The Star-Blanket represents gifts of the highest honour in First Nations culture. The geometric design of the morning-star displays protection, empowerment and providing comfort and hope.

“Just as a Star Blanket honours those who are wrapped inside, this mural will honour and empower the many community members and learners who pass through these doors,” said Trimbee.

The Star Blanket Project has multiple sites around the city paying homage to the many people impacted by the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people.

“It’s especially fitting that this beautiful artwork wrapping our building is being created in partnership with a group of talented artists and dedicated community members who want to beautify and celebrate our neighborhood while raising awareness,” said Jarita Greyeyes, director of community learning & engagement at University of Winnipeg.

The University of Winnipeg Foundation and Wii Chiiwaaknak are running a fundraising campaign to help cover costs of programming at the Learning Centre.

The mural will be the first in this year’s Wall-to-Wall mural and culture festival. A community block party will be held Aug, 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to celebrate the transformation.

The painting of the mural will be underway from Aug. 13-20.