Windsor app encourages cross-border exploration of mural artworks

    Windsor app encourages cross-border exploration of mural artworks

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    A cross-border mural tour aimed at bringing life to city streets encourages residents to step outside and explore their local neighbourhoods through the lens of art.

    “I would like to see more feet on the street,” said Parallel 42 Systems founder Doug Sartori. “There’s a critical mass of great public art on both sides of the river.

    “We want to encourage people to get out and activate those streets in those neighbourhoods.”

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    Windsor-created Motor City Murals is a self-guided tour that invites people to explore public art on their own time and at their own pace.

    The app offers more than 150 stops featuring photos and information about the art, artists, and surrounding areas. 

    “We hired photographers to walk our proposed routes and take photos for the app,” Sartori said. “We also had to gather information about who painted the murals, when they were done, and the businesses they’re attached to.

    “Collecting all that information and putting it together was a pretty significant task probably more work than implementing the software.”

    Just a few of the murals in downtown Windsor’s Art Alley are shown on Wednesday, July 3, 2024. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

    Sartori noted that although the tours can be done in a single day, users are encouraged to return “again and again.” He said the app keeps track of the user’s journey with no downloads or accounts created.

    The Motor City Murals tour is a joint effort between Hackforge, WindsorEats, and the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County (MCC).

    “The MCC is fortunate to work with many great people from around the world who choose to make Windsor-Essex their new home,” said MCC executive director Fred Francis.

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    “We are excited to take part in the Motor City Murals tour project. It’s free, educational, self-guiding, and an easy way for newcomers to Canada to learn more about our region as a whole — Windsor and Detroit.” 

    Doug Sartori displays an app on his phone on Wednesday in downtown Windsor that his company created called Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

    The tour draws inspiration from past tours such as the McDougall Street Corridor Project and Queer Walk, said Sartori.

    “Hundreds of people have enjoyed those tours,” said Sartori. “For us, you know, success is building an application that people use and that people enjoy and appreciate.”

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    Motor City Murals includes stops at some of the region’s most popular murals such as the ‘South Detroit’ mural on Pitt Street in Windsor, the recently completed ‘Windsor’ mural on Wyandotte Street East, as well as the ‘Greetings from Detroit’ mural located on Brush Street in Detroit, and the Russel Industrial Center mural.

    “(The app) is free to use and free from surprises — we respect user data and won’t feature advertisements,” said Sartori.

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