Elizabeth-Ann Doyle, Co-founder and general and artistic director of MU

2 minutes

David Nathan

Elisabeth-Ann Doyle
  • © Elisabeth-Ann Doyle
For close to 14 years, Elizabeth-Ann Doyle and the teams at MU have been beautifying the walls of Montreal in collaboration with talented street-artists. Recipient of the Ordre de Montréal medal for her involvement, this art enthusiast is not done turning Montreal into an open-sky museum.

What does your work entail?

 

I see myself as a conductor tasked with finding the best artists to create murals, as well as bringing citizens, wall owners, elected teams, and stakeholders together around an artistic project. My mission is simple: make sure that art has a positive impact in everyday life, that it beautifies the life of neighbourhood residents and tourists. The pandemic taught me just how much we’re a part of the solution for Montrealers.

What role does a mural play and how do you know when it’s successful?

 

A mural is a great way to broadcast culture. It gives citizens access to free art, with no geographical restrictions; there are over 150 murals in Montreal. A mural is also a way of concretely changing everyday life. Take Habitations Jeanne-Mance, for instance: the image of this low-income building complex has been completely transformed thanks to the 15 murals painted on its facades. Now it’s even considered a tourist attraction. Another great example is the Leonard Cohen (editor’s note: Crescent Street) mural that Montrealers hold dear to their hearts. A mural is successful when it generates a sense of pride.

What are your plans for downtown?

We have lots. We have a mural project with Tourisme Montréal on the corner of Peel and Sainte-Catherine which was put on hold in 2020 as a result of the pandemic; we also have many walking tour projects in the works, tall murals on Sainte-Catherine Street, over shops and boutiques. I would love for us to start integrating augmented reality into our works, such as developing podcasts and tourist circuits. And all this while continuing to promote local talent, of course.