Photo by Daisy Wu
Two shutter panels, depicting a girl with red and blue glasses on one, and a boy with black glasses on the other. They stand inside a bus shelter, with a view of downtown Winnipeg behind them. The sign above these panels read "See n' Save Optical."
Artist(s): Sarah Collard

An Eye for the City

Completed: 2008

This is a two-panel shutter mural located below the sign for See n’ Save Optical.

Artist’s Statement: “A young boy and girl share their excitement for their new eyeglasses and the fun city. Graham and Kennedy are known for their numerous optical stores such as See N’ Save, a business that has been around for many years. In the heart of downtown, the eye is a central part of business. The city’s new transit stations make a great outline of an eye over top young patrons. The various buildings that line the Portage Avenue skyline are collaged into the background referencing Winnipeg’s cultural and economic diversity. Portage and Main was once the centre for the banking industry with the Royal Bank Building, Vital Statistics, the former Bank of Nova Scotia finding their way into the cityscape. The Carlton, Radisson and Kensington buildings are also illustrated with Can West Global Place seen in the windows. The new hydro building which is currently under construction is located down the alley behind See N’ Save. In an effort to be authentic, my children and I took a photographic walk down Portage Avenue taking pictures for reference material. The transit shelter was our resting place and the Portage footbridge can be seen in the background bridging one shutter to the other. I will often photograph models or people I know as subjects. This time it happened to be my daughter Sonja and son Emanuel. The third shutter is waiting to be completed. It shows a magnifying glass with a boy’s eye up close. The eye exam; a distant memory pervades their thinking with optical lines still in view. Eye chart letters read phonetically ‘A GRYT CTI’, our city’s former slogan. The background is an extension of the metal framed shelter with the new Manitoba Hydro Building being built in the background. It is located in the back alley of this location. There was a little bit of a mix up with the proprietors of the building. Downtown BIZ ran a competition that stated the parameters of the shutter Mural. In it they asked for a Mural that incorporated the businesses in the area with special attention to the optical theme. It did not specify any other theme. When the Mural was awarded to me, I went ahead with the proposed drawing that had been approved by the selected jury, as was my mandate. When I approached the owners of the See n’ Save, they began introducing and requesting changes. I agreed to do some minor changes to the colour of the skin and to give the boy aboriginal features but I was not prepared to drastically change the image. The owners of See n’ Save were concerned that the image did not look Aboriginal enough and may offend some. I think they were successful in showing their concern for the aboriginal people who make up a large fabric of the downtown culture. The Mural has been respected and I hope the owners will allow me the opportunity to finish it in the Spring of 2009.”

For more information on this mural visit:

Where to Find This Mural

Location: 251 Kennedy St Winnipeg MB R3C 1T2 Get Directions