Customers out supporting their local Canadian businesses may soon notice a stunning new addition to their favourite store or restaurant: a piece of artwork by a local Anishinaabe artist. The new physical and digital signage is available to American Express businesses free of charge — and it comes with a powerful message.
The colourful and inspiring designs are part of a new campaign called “Always Welcome” by American Express that helps businesses show that all customers are welcome inside their doors, and to promote acceptance and belonging for everyone in Canada.
Blake Angeconeb is the Anishinaabe woodlands artist behind the campaign’s beautiful artwork, which reflects his own interpretation of the “Always Welcome” expression.
“The focal point is the Thunderbird, which represents strength and protection in Anishinaabe culture. The art also has four androgynous faces to represent diversity, with everyone looking together toward the future to illustrate unity and connectedness,” Angeconeb explains.
“We are all connected through the land, regardless of where we come from. That feeling of connectedness should always be present in how we experience others and our society.”
Customers will be able to recognize that connectedness when they see Angeconeb’s work.
The signage is eye-catching to anyone walking by, and was created in the Winnipeg-based artist’s characteristic style that is informed by the school of woodlands art and animated with pop culture references.
It also generates a feeling of warmth thanks to the positive message it promotes–helping the community feel connected to their local businesses.
As Kerri-Ann Santaguida, vice-president of merchant services at American Express Canada says, “We are proud to offer complimentary signage that not only gives business owners beautiful artwork for their storefronts but conveys a deeper message that their customers are always welcome and always accepted.”
American Express business owners looking to order complimentary signage or download digital versions for their websites and social media can do so on the American Express website.