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Latest Update: “Paint the Rails is about documenting our local stories,” Maigan van der Giessen of the ...

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Conversations on colonization, reclamation and reconciliation through art.

The City of Edmonton chose Paint the Rails as one of its legacy projects for Canada’s 150th anniversary. The project is much more relevant this year as it is also the 140th anniversary of the signing of Treaty 6. Paint the Rails looks to integrate as many cultural communities as possible into the greater story of settlement and reconciliation in Edmonton.


Paint the Rails proposes to create permanent art installations in six Edmonton LRT stations. The artworks will be inspired by community; artists, elders, knowledge keepers, historians, members of Edmonton’s diverse cultural communities, and other stakeholders are asked to come together to help guide the stories and artistic vision that will inspire the content of the artwork. These murals will tell our shared stories in public places and spark conversations and celebration. Emerging artists and videographers will be mentored by established professionals, building skills among young Edmontonians and sparking creative connections.

Completed Stations

- Churchill LRT Station

-University LRT Station


Meet the Artists:

- Carla Rae Taylor

- AJA Louden

- Dana Belcourt

- Matthew Cardinal

(More on artists bios:

Other Ways to Engage

For more information



Collaborators on this Project

  • Media Coverage by CBC Edmonton

    Thanks to @CBCEdmonton for featuring our #PainttheRails story. • "Paintings will bring history of Edmonton's diverse communities to LRT stations." • We can definitely use more support to meet our goal of raising $200,000. • Please email for more information on how you can help. • Full story link:
  • A drawing from a community engagement session.

    This is a drawing from from one of our community members from our very first community engagement session.
  • Drawings and Inputs from Community Members

    These are some of the historical input that community members provided to the Canadian timeline.
  • Community Members

    These are some of the community members who participated in our second engagement session. This was a vital session for us as we gathered stories from various cultural communities around the city.
  • Teel us your stories #PaintTheRails

    We bring you another edition of some of Canada's milestones, more importantly Edmonton's (Alberta's) milestones. These are some of the stories that we would like to be telling through our #PaintTheRails project ( We would love to hear stories of your families & communities in Edmonton. If you would like to share, please fill in a short form here:
  • Meet the Artist - Dana Belcourt

    Dana Belcourt is an 18 year old Metis emerging artist who recently graduated from Victoria School of the Arts. Dana grew up in Edmonton on Treaty 6 territory, and uses this cultural influence to shape her work. Her work is based in acrylic paintings filled with deep symbolism revolving around growth and emotion, as well as multi-medium pieces with influences from her heritage and experiences. Dana is very excited to be apart of Paint The Rails, as she believes experience is an integral part of who people are, and what shapes a community. She hopes to include the stories of a community in murals everyone can relate to.
  • Meet the Artist - Carla Rae Taylor

    Carla Rae Taylor (formerly Gilday) was born in St. Albert AB and raised in Yellowknife NT. She is of both Dene and Irish/French heritage. Having spent much of her youth and young adulthood close to nature, she learned to listen deeply and be in touch with intuition and creativity. Both the natural world and the dream world have inspired the creations within the borders of her paintings. Translating dream imagery into drawings and acrylic paintings has long been a favoured creative approach. The dream world has always been ripe with images and messages from spirit that cause deep reflection, introspection and guidance. Stories and legends from Dene culture and from around the world have also influenced and woven their way into her work. Carla’s early artistic journey led to a more formal art education, beginning in 2003 at the En’owkin Centre in Penticton BC. There she started with Foundations in Aboriginal Art and Creative Writing, then went on to complete a Bachelors of Fine Art (BFA) at the University of Victoria. After finishing the BFA, she went on to complete a certificate of Graphic Design from the Pacific Design Academy in Victoria BC. After 10 years of living in BC and reveling in the wonders of it’s natural beauty, she moved to Edmonton where she has spent the past 5 years working for iHuman Youth Society ( as their Art Coordinator, guiding inner city youth through their self discovery and healing through Art. Time spent with inner city youth has influenced her art in many new ways. Elements of urban techniques play into the imagery and materials. The colourful dreamscapes Carla creates are often made with a mixture of spray paint and acrylic paint on canvas. They contain stylized shapes and images fused with figures, animals, organic lines and elements reflecting nature. Each painting is her personal interpretation of dreams, visions, spiritual experiences and stories. Carla lives in Sherwood Park, AB with her beloved husband Eric, daughter Raeya and son Lyric.
  • PSA: Painting the rails with new mural at Churchill Station

    Have you ever wanted to watch a live mural painting? Now is your chance!! The public is invited to stop by Churchill LRT station to view artists, Carla Taylor and Dana Belcourt, painting the first mural for the Canada 150 #PainttheRails legacy project in collaboration with the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights and Edmonton Transit Service - ETS Media contact: Jas Badesha Communications Coordinator Office: 780-508-9509 Mobile: 780-868-2090 Nexi Alarcon Paint the Rails Communications John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights Office: 780-289-3079
  • Returning Home - Launch

    Edmonton, December 12, 2017- Join the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights and the Kohkom Kisewatisiwin Society in the launch of Returning Home along with stories from the Kohkom’s teaching Calendar. Returning Home is the first of six Paint The Rails murals to be finished in LRT stations across the city. The artwork is a progressive triptych intended to honour Canada's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and our grandmothers. The main piece, by artists Carla Rae Gilday and Dana Belcourt, is an image of a grandmother whose shawl turns into a giant wing, surrounding and protecting the people of Edmonton as they return to their homes safely. The Kohkom’s Calendar aims to offer insights to Indigenous traditions that go back centuries. The calendar integrates a series of different teachings told by grandmothers; from traditional foods, to medicine, art ceremony and storytelling. This new calendar is a powerful tool for education; integrating Indigenous knowledge and teachings to pass on to future generations.
  • Paint the Rails with your stories

    The Edmonton Community foundation has featured Paint the Rails in The Well Endowed Podcast and The Transforming Edmonton blog; two great platforms that connect with Edmontonians about the initiatives that build a great city! For those who want to learn more about Paint the Rails, please listen to the podcast or read the blog. Let's create art that goes beyond boundaries and unites us as a community! The Well Endowed Podcast ( The Transforming Edmonton Blog (
  • The River

    Our commissioned work for the University of Alberta ETS station is titled ‘The River’. The work is a tribute to many of the animals - four legged, winged or scaled - that are native to Edmonton’s beloved river valley, specifically near the University of Alberta. The artists would like to acknowledge that the work was created in Treaty 6 territory, near a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples, including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/ Saulteaux/ Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others. Starting from the top of a seven landing stairwell, the river surrounds viewers and flows with them as they travel towards their destinations. Featured at each landing is an animal that called this place home before Edmonton was founded. “Water connects all life.” Water connects all life. ‘The River’ emphasizes the importance of the North Saskatchewan to this land: depictions of water can be found within or around each featured animal. The spark for this idea came from one of our first community consultations - one strong takeaway was the idea of art centering on the stories of the land and the animals. This work was further informed by conversations and a river valley tour with local traditional knowledge keeper and UofA professor Dwayne Donald. His deep knowledge of the history of the area moved us to honour the river and animals - in the end, black bears, sturgeon, beavers, woodpeckers, buffalo, and wolves were chosen to be represented here, linked together by the river as a source of life. Knowledge from Elder Wilson Bearhead also provided key inspiration for the artwork. The production of the final artwork also involved the community - Matt and Dana were mentored by lead artists Carla and AJA, and parts of the art on the sturgeon and beaver were crafted with help from community members during International Week at the University. U of A Alumni Naomi McIlwraith provided translations into syllabics for the Cree names of the animals that appear at each landing.
  • New river mural unveiled at University LRT Station

    The mural, titled The River, is part of project Paint the Rails. Collaboratively painted by artists AJA Louden, Carla Rae Taylor, Matthew Cardinal, and Dana Belcourt, the mural was unveiled on March 22 with about 20 in attendance. The River is the second mural out of the six that will be painted in LRT stations across the city in the next few years for the Paint the Rails initiative in partnership with The John Humphrey Centre and Edmonton Transit Service (ETS). The project aims to engage various cultural communities in Edmonton to learn the story of settlement and reconciliation. Full article:
  • The River

    “Paint the Rails is about documenting our local stories,” Maigan van der Giessen of the John Humphry Centre explains. The University of Alberta’s own Dwayne Donald helped inspire this mural by connecting the artists with stories from Edmonton’s river valley. Two of the six panels also feature community work from the U of A’s 2018 International Week. Each landing features a different animal native to our river valley, along with the animal’s Cree name. A river flows continuously from concourse to platform, linking together the life forms on each landing. Full article:

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