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Monday, 22 July 2013

Art Starts StART Mural 2013

I've been spending my days this summer coordinating this mural project for Art Starts (the StART mural program funded by the city, formerly the Graffiti Transformation Project), and I have to say, as far as summer jobs go, I could do worse than strolling around the city , making art, and painting outside.  We started off the program with tours of the neighbourhood we are painting in (Lawrence Heights), as well as a tour of Regent Park, a similar neighbourhood of community housing residences that is halfway through a revitalization just like the one that the near future holds for Lawrence Heights. The theme of our mural will revolve around the history of Lawrence Heights, the stories, hopes and values of the people who live here, and their vision of the future in light of the revitalization of their community.  Research has been a large component in the program, leading the youth through the process of interviewing residents and getting a feel for all of the voices in the neighbourhood.

We took a tour of the amazing PACT garden project at nearby John Polanyi High School

and we visited the murals from previous programs...

We took a field trip to Regent Park to see what the future might hold for Lawrence Heights.

We also hosted an open discussion group to hear stories about Lawrence Heights from community members.

Planning the mural:

The building is primed, using materials generously donated from the lovely people in the paint department of Lawrence Heights Canadian Tire.  
Look at all that wall!  This is a huge project!

Monday, 8 July 2013

The Summer Sassy Little Craft Show 2013

Another year, another Sassy!
We had our first Summer edition of the Sassy Little Craft Show at our new home at The Central, and despite a torrential rain that ended up putting the kibosh on our lovely upstairs patio vendor set up (which is a damn shame because it looked super lovely up there) we had a great time!

We had some really awesome and talented vendors, and I maaay have gotten a little carried away shopping, but it was all in support of Artists, so that's ok. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Art Starts Mural Project

I've recently signed on for a summer gig with community Arts Organization Art Starts as the Project 
Co ordinator for one of their Graffiti Transformation Project's Murals.

From the Art Starts website:
Every summer we hire emerging artists between the ages of 15 and 20 to work with professional mural artists. Together they conceptualize, design and produce a mural to animate neglected walls across the city. So far we have worked to transform many walls including most recently at Steeles & L’Amoreaux in 2008, Dundas & Dupont in summer 2009, and most recently the underpass at the north entrance to the Yorkdale Subway Station in summer 2010. Keep an eye out for more Art Starts murals popping up around the city in the years to come!

 I was very excited to be a part of this project for two reasons: 
1) I had long since admired Art Starts murals around the city 
(in particular the one in my neighbourhood at Dupont and Dundas - it's beautiful.)
and as a painter I feel very strongly about the politics of murals: taking art off of the walls of galleries, offices, and rich people's houses and making it accessible it to the public.
2)  I have been dreaming of creating a mural club in the school and community that I teach in as a way of empowering the neighbourhood's youth into turning the excessive amounts of concrete that surrounds us into a means of communicating positive messages, culture, colour and beauty to their peers and families.  My role as co ordinator for the Art Starts mural project is a great learning opportunity in relation to this, as it allows me to offer my organizational skills to facilitate running a large scale mural project, while simultaneously learning from the lead Artists their process in bringing youth through the conceptualization and execution of a Community-Centred Mural.

We will be painting the walls of the Lawrence Heights Community Centre.

Oh, the possibilities!