What is that thing? I’ve walked by this interesting object outside the Millennium Library many times in the last few months and I’ve taken quite a number of photos of it. But I didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t find any kind of sign nearby so I went in the library where the friendly staff informed me it was a funnelator.
What was a funnelator? I had to find out. I discovered the funnelator is an initiative of the CentreVenture development group. Although the funnelator just outside the library is the first one I’ve seen, in a 2011 article in the Winnipeg Free Press CentreVenture CEO Ross McGowan said there will be dozens of funnelators downtown in the future. According to McGowan these funnelators will be different sizes and colours and be used as media and information centers, heating stations or shelters from rain and snow. An article in the Metro in December claims this first funnelator will be a test case and only when it is working effectively will others be built. CentreVenture spokesperson Tom Janzen said on CJOB radio that the funnelator at the library is more of an art piece, there for its aesthetic value, while other funnelators may have more practical applications.
Made of metal, polyethylene or fibreglass the funnelators are copyrighted and are absolutely unique to Winnipeg. They were designed by a Portland firm called Commart.
Apparently during the week the JUNOS were in Winnipeg the Funnelator ran a thirty minute video loop by film maker Michael Maryniuk that featured local musical groups like the Lytics, Boats and my personal favorite Royal Canoe.
The funnelator is certainly unique and will make a great conversation piece when I am showing visitors my neighborhood. At least now I know what it is.
Other posts about interesting art downtown,,,,,,,,
A Mural For Bill Norrie
Why No Golden Girl?
Four art pieces with connections to trees are currently displayed in the sky lit foyer on the gallery floor of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Each sculpture is very different. Root Dress by Barb Hunt is at the top of the stairs and draws the immediate attention of visitors. A group of high school girls on one of my tours discussed how they thought the dress symbolizes the way women are the backbone and roots of their families holding things together.
Daphne is by Jean Arp. Most of my touring students don’t know Daphne’s story and they are intrigued by the dramatic tale from Greek mythology of the beautiful Daphne who was being pursued by the god Apollo. Her father Laden was a river god and she begged him to help save her from Apollo. He did so by turning her into a tree.
The Poet by Ossip Zadkine is a musician who is half tree and half person. Children have fun picking out all the tree parts on one half of the sculpture- the branches for his arms, the roots for his foot, the growth rings inside his thigh, the writing etched into the bark on his leg, the pruned branch on his calf and the leaves on his hands. The kids on my tours have pointed out lots of tree details I hadn’t noticed.
Tree of Life is by Cecil Richards. I tell the students who visit the gallery that many religions have a Tree of Life as a symbol for creation. Inevitably a child on the tour will suggest that the couple inside the tree is Adam and Eve and they share the Biblical story with us. I tell the kids that in Ancient Egypt there was also a religious story about a couple named Isis and Osiris who emerged from a tree.
The presence and proximity of these tree pieces has made for an interesting addition to my tours and has inspired lots of comments and ideas from the children and young people who visit the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Other posts about the Winnipeg Art Gallery….
Up on the Roof Top
Landscapes For the End of Time
Lynne Cohen- Interior Scapes