A STEPS PROJECT
This twenty-three storey mural produced in collaboration with world-renowned Spanish street artist Okuda San Miguel transformed Toronto’s skyline, provided paid opportunities for local artists and cultural programming for local residents.
PROJECT AT A GLANCE
Location: Garden District, Toronto (111 Carlton St)
Artist(s): Okuda San Miguel, supported by local artists Stephanie Bellefleur, Kayla Buium and Adrian Hayles
people experience this mural each day
Gallons of paint used in the creation of the mural
sq. ft of public artwork
community members engaged in the project’s development
opportunities for local artists and arts workers
storeys of a building turned into a canvas
“This has been the most meaningful project that I have ever worked on.”
– David Reisman, Senior Vice President of Development,
Knightstone Capital has become known for developing start-of-the-art student residences across Canada. Inspired by the impact of our work in Toronto’s midtown, they invited STEPS to reimagine the exterior Parkside Student Residence in downtown Toronto – a building whose grey concrete exterior did not reflect the young and vibrant community who called it home.
STEPS curated a shortlist of artists from across the globe with the technical skills to tackle such a large and unique canvas, and then developed embedded learning opportunities for local artists within the project’s design. Equilibrium was produced in collaboration with Okuda San Miguel, with support from a local artistic team. This 23-storey cultural landmark is visible for miles to the east, on the other side of Toronto’s Don Valley.
“Equilibrium is my largest mural to date, which on a personal level is a very interesting and beautiful challenge.”
– Okuda San Miguel, Lead Artist
We needed to use multiple simultaneous swing stages to produce such a large work in a condensed timeline, as well as navigate unique site challenges like a highly textured wall with such a busy street and pedestrian thoroughfare at ground level.
Equilibrium offered paid employment for local and emerging artists, capacity building opportunities for students, as well as cultural programming for the wider public, including community painting days, an exhibition in partnership with #Hashtag Gallery, and public celebrations.
“This project has empowered me as a woman. I’m the one lifting the heavy material. I’m the one who’s figuring out all the technical things. I’m the one who people come to with questions, or when they need assistance. I feel like a warrior—it’s definitely boosted my confidence and proved that I can have this kind of role.”
– Kayla Buium, Local Artistic Team Member
At the nexus of educational institutions, student life, and diverse neighbourhoods, Okuda’s work explores themes identified by stakeholders from the Parkside Student Residence and surrounding communities such as unity, knowledge, nature, diversity, and innovation through his signature pop-surrealism style.