Steal This Poster Exchange 2022

The Steal This Poster campaign is a long-standing tradition at MSS that was resumed in 2020 to respond to the societal upheaval that was occurring at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. 28+ Steal this poster designs have been installed and delivered throughout Winnipeg over the past two years. This public initiative is subtle and inclusive by nature of its use of public space for display. Posters are installed throughout each of the neighbourhoods of the city, and we explicitly encourage people to take them for their own use and enjoyment. Most posters are claimed within 24 hours. They have been a welcome visual addition to people’s days during the

“Steal this Poster” began in 2012 as a marketing and branding exercise for Martha Street Studio. It has since grown into an ongoing production and dissemination project where artists from all stages of their careers produce an image edition that is installed in public places with an explicit encouragement for the viewer to take a copy if it appeals to them. In 2015 Steal this poster was featured at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival’s Pop-Up Gallery, a public outreach and engagement initiative organised by the Manitoba Artist-Run Centres Coalition (MARCC). The success of this iteration of the Steal This Poster project, where all posters were indeed ‘stolen’ from the walls, solidified our
desire to keep the project ongoing.

In 2016, a month-long collaboration with the Little Red Library and MSS resulted in one new print a day for one month installed in the warming-hut turned little free library on Wellington Crescent in Downtown Winnipeg. The poster campaign was paused after 2017 while other projects and programs were being developed at the studio. In 2021 we began commissioning ‘non-partisan protest posters’ to contribute towards our ongoing ‘steal this poster’ campaign. This avenue provides creative outlets for our community to address systemic inequality and propose alternate solutions. This important dialogue can now take place on the telephone poles and poster boards throughout the city. Artists whose designs have been chosen for printing receive a $50 honourarium, along with the printing and distribution provided by MSS.

We want to thank our participating artists Steacy Easton, NuSteel, Tessa Presta, Riley Bataillard, Hannah Cole, Shay Head, Hannah G, P Graham for joining this meaningful exchange!