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June Newsletter

Amplifying Indigenous Voices in the Arts

STEPS is committed to cultivating safe space for Indigenous voices to be heard. We have a responsibility to initiate and foster meaningful and lasting action for our employees, collaborators and our communities.

As an organization, we are making every effort to learn more about and participate in local Indigenous culture. Through our work, including the amplification of Indigenous artists’ voices, we hope to support our non-Indigenous collaborators in authentic allyship.

We have added a collection of resources that we feel may be valuable and create an active discourse focused on lasting change and growth around supporting Indigenous communities to our Resources Page. Many of these resources have been created by colleagues, while others have been developed or shared by people around the world. This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive list. We encourage you to share with STEPS additional resources that you have found valuable.

Now Hiring: Program Assistants
Apply by July 8, 2021

Interested in public art and community building? STEPS is looking for up to two (2) creative, energetic and organized team players who are passionate about amplifying the work of artists and engaging people in public art experiences.

We are accepting applicants from across Canada for these remote positions, with preference being given to First Nations (status and non-status), Métis and Inuit. These opportunities are partially funded through Canada Summer Jobs and preference will be given to candidates who are no more than 30 years of age and are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Artist Panel: Access as a Creative Catalyst

Artwork by Michel Dumont titled Fryes of Pride showcased at the top half, a fiery orange and red flame outlined by the Pride flag’s four remaining colours. Dark blue text reads “Access as a Creative Catalyst” Thursday, July 8 from 4:30 to 6 pm ET, hosted via Zoom. Visit www.publicartresidency.ca. Smaller text reads “CreateSpace is in partnership with the City of Toronto, and supported by TD Bank Group” with these two logos at the bottom left. Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba logo at the bottom right.

Featured artwork from Michel Dumont’s artwork The Fyres of Pride

Exploring methods for access and equity, join panelists Michel Dumont, Adriana Alarcon from MAWA, Yvette Cenerini, and Sean Lee from Tangled Art + Disability as they share their experiences in creative spaces and navigating traditional and virtual platforms for safe community engagement and expression. This event is hosted with Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba as part of CreateSpace Residency public programming.

Call for Participation: Submit a Love Letter

Lush dark green shrubbery with a heart shape cut out of the green bush at the very centre. Text seen in the centre of the heart reads “LOVE Letters,” with “LOVE” seen in pale blue block letters, and “Letters” in cursive and a mustard yellow colour.

Photo Credit: BSAM Canada

We are looking to collect brief audio and written responses from you!

BSAM Canada, in collaboration with STEPS, Waterfront BIA and Waterfront Toronto, invites you to reminisce on your relationship with love for inclusion in an upcoming PATCH exhibit. What was it about love that caught your eye, caused you to wonder, and left an imprint on you? To participate, use the following prompts for inspiration to share what love means to you and leave a few words as your letter to love. Once you’re done, submit your love letter below!

1. What’s the first thing you would teach your younger self about love?
2. What is an expression of love that has stayed with you for a long time?
3. Do you think the way your family loves has affected the way you love?

Call for Participation: Yonge-Eglinton Public Art!

A purple and blue coloured feminized face with wavy dark green hair, left eye closed and eyelashes seen. Dozens of vibrant bright flowers, ranging in size, are seen in white, pink, yellow and red surrounding the feminized face.

STEPS is working with artist Gosia Komorski and BMO Financial Group to create a new, vibrant mural inspired by the community at 2454 Yonge Street in Toronto!

The mural will be located along Roselawn Avenue at the Yonge Street intersection to bring new life to the wall that currently has the 2013 mural which celebrated the 6th annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer to support the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.

If you are a local resident to the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood, we are looking to hear from you on what makes the area special! Your feedback will help create an original artwork that resonates and reflects this unique community.

I HeART Main Street Kick-Off!

Artist Curtia Wright standing in the very centre of their Celebrating Queer Black Lives mural, painted on the wall of a grey and black coloured Beer Store. The mural has two nearly identical feminized faces in pastel colours yellow, pink, blue, and purple, and these faces are facing each other, with a rainbow coloured butterfly featured above the faces at the top centre. Curtia is wearing white running shoes, black shorts, and an orange T-shirt.

Artist: Curtia Wright for Oakwood Village BIA
Photo Credit: Selina McCallum

The summer kick-off for I HeART Main Street 2021 is finally here! STEPS, in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and the City of Toronto, with the support of the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council, is supporting 26 Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) across Ontario in bringing main streets to life with public art all summer long.

Hoarding Exhibit Highlight: Toronto Makes Good

Construction hoarding seen behind a sidewalk and grey guardrails. The featured hoarding photos include “This Is Worldtown Unbound” by Leilah Dhoré to the left, which is a photo of a single red rose held upright with an art gallery as a backdrop. To the right is “Rainbow” by Holly Chang, a photo of a crack of light being shone on a beige carpet, creating a prismatic rainbow effect. Above the construction hoarding is a red and white sign that reads “made in toronto.”

Artists: Leilah Dhoré and Holly Chang
Photo Credit: Sharon Mendonca

Over a year in the making, we are happy to announce the completed installation of Toronto Makes Good! A collaboration between STEPS, JAYU, and Graywood Developments, and supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant, this exhibit features the work of youth photographers around the themes of urban environment, health and wellness. Drop by 102 Peter Street and follow @thepatchproject for the latest hoarding exhibit announcements.

Leslie Nymark, Lead Artist Selected!

The featured rendering at the top half is a film reel of Leslie Nymark community members and artwork by children of the community. Dark blue text reads “Beginning June 2021 Leslie Nymark Public Art Project. Lead Artist Jessey Pacho with Artist Collaborators Moises Frank and Alex Popelavskis.” Learn more at www.stepspublicart.org/project/leslie-nymark-public-art-project. Toronto Community Housing and Tridel logos at the bottom right.

Featured rendering by artist Jessey Pacho

Congratulations to Toronto-based graffiti artist Jessey Pacho who was selected to create a large public artwork installation for the Leslie Nymark community! Jessey and his team of artist collaborators will work collaboratively with Leslie Nymark residents through skill-building workshops, youth and employment opportunities, and more to create a lasting legacy in the neighbourhood for years to come.

New Roles and Faces at STEPS

Bebhinn Jennings, a member of STEPS leadership team for more than two years and most recently our Interim Program Director, is pursuing further education at OISE in the coming months. She has been instrumental in designing and overseeing many of our current community and artist programs. She will be missed dearly, but we are thrilled that programming will be left in great hands.

Headshots of two STEPS team members, with full name, preferred pronouns and job title displayed for each person. From left to right, text reads “Erin Glover (she/her/they) Interim Program Director, Renee Castonguay (she/her) Community Programs Manager.” Erin is wearing a vermillion coloured shirt with autumn-sunset colours in the background, and Renee is wearing a partially zipped black jacket with a white background, and a green plant slightly visible to the left.

Our new Interim Program Director Erin Glover, who brings 10+ years of experience as an artist and arts educator, will be an invaluable asset to STEPS as we continue to make public art more accessible. Renee Castonguay, STEPS Program Coordinator for the last two years, has moved into a Community Programs Manager position where she will be focused on deepening impact in the communities we serve.

Headshots of STEPS new team members, with full name, preferred pronouns and job title displayed for each person. From left to right, text reads “Meegan Lim (she/her) Engagement Assistant, Shuraine Otto-Olak (she/her) Placemaking Assistant, Stoyan Barakov (he/him) Placemaking Assistant.” Meegan is wearing a blue shirt and is seen outdoors with lush greenery in the background, Shuraine is wearing a blue jean jacket and by the water with a blue sky above, and Stoyan is seen wearing a white dress shirt with a rainbow coloured artwork in the background.

We are pumped to also welcome Meegan Lim, Shuraine Otto-Olak and Stoyan Barakov, who will provide the team with invaluable support as we work with new collaborators across Canada. Their passion for community engagement, partnership development and enhancing accessibility will strengthen STEPS programming as we enter a busy summer season! 

External Opportunities

Supporting artists and arts workers, especially those who face barriers in accessing public art opportunities, is at the core of STEPS’ mandate. Below are some of the current opportunities on our radar.

Building Community During COVID

Thanks to contributions from community members like you, STEPS supported over 65 public art initiatives and paid over $160,000 in direct payments to Canadian artists and designers in 2020 alone.

Consider making a donation to support this important work!

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