A STEPS ONTARIO CREATIVE PLACEMAKING PROJECT
I HeART Main Street 2021
Building on the success of the 2020 Main Street Art Challenge and in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and ShowLoveTO produced by the City of Toronto, STEPS presents this year’s I HeART Main Street to support Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) of all sizes, strengthen business-community relationships, and provide meaningful opportunities for local Canadian artists. Beginning in June 2021, 27 main streets across Ontario will be activated through unique outdoor public art installations that can be visited in person or virtually through an interactive app. Participating BIAs will have a chance to win prizes valued at $30,000 at the end of the summer to recognize exemplary projects.
PROJECT AT A GLANCE
Location: Various locations across Ontario
BIAs: Albion Islington Square, Aldershot Village, Belle River – On the Lake, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Chinatown, Clarkson Village, Cooksville, Downtown Bench Beamsville, Downtown Brockville, Downtown Tillsonburg, Downtown Timmins, Downtown Whitby, DUKE Heights, Eglinton Way, Greektown on the Danforth, Kensington Market, Lakeshore Village, Leslieville, MarkeTo District, Mimico by the Lake, Mount Pleasant Village, Oakwood Village, Pape Village, Port Credit, Riverside, Trinity Bellwoods, Upper Village
Artists: Asli Alin, Curtia Wright, Danielle Hyde, Hyedie Hashimoto, Yasaman Mehrsa, Farida Zaman, Karun Ramani, Toko Hosoya, Justine Wong, Mahmood Hosseini, Marie-Judith Jean-Louis, Jennifer Ilett, Sophie Paas-Lang, Chris Perez, GETSO, FP Monkey, Jeannie Priscila, Adeyemi Adegbesan, Mel Hayes, Andre Kan, Andre Castro, Leone McComas, Steven Twigg, Rally Rally, Katrina Canedo, Bareket Kezwer, Yaara Eshet, Marcia Diaz Agudelo, Leone McComas, Jocelyn Kearns, Oksana Hawrylak, Aggie Armstrong, Ray Vidal, Rhonda Franks, Henry VanderSpek, Gabrielle Lasporte, Romana Kassam, Kayla Buium, Suharu Ogawa, Yaw Tony, Aidan Kenny, Vivian Rosas, Yen Linh Thai, Vesna Asanovic, Monica Wickeler, Sara Sarhangpour, Melika Saeeda, Ghazaleh Rastgar, and more!
Canadian artists and designers paid for their work
Business Improvement Areas supported
Cities represented across Ontario
New app integration
We believe that Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) are the heart of our communities. Expanding on the success of last year’s Main Street Art Challenge and in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and the City of Toronto, STEPS is working with 27 BIAs across Ontario this summer to implement placemaking initiatives as part of their main street recovery strategy. From creative coaching and hiring local artists to create new public artwork, to implementing innovative ways to safely engage with the artworks with an upcoming launch of an interactive app, I HeART Main Street is helping BIAs foster trust and a sense of community through challenging times. This project is a great example of Ontario creative placemaking.
- Pro-bono creative placemaking and public art services
- Connections to multidisciplinary artists and creatives
- Artist fee subsidies
- Audio-visual documentation
- Promotional tools and public programming
Are you a BIA interested in activating your streets with STEPS? Learn more about the I HeART Main Street program and apply to the next round today!
Download the STEPS Public Art App
New this year is the launch of the free STEPS Public Art mobile and web app to capture all of the public art projects across Ontario! Through this platform, visitors can experience the installations virtually, learn more about the participating BIA communities, and meet the local artists involved. As projects are rolling, the app will be updated regularly with new photos, videos, and fun walking tours to discover public artworks near you!
How to use the app:
- Visit the Discover button to explore the artwork either by artist, by BIA, or by region.
- Use the Explore button to find the BIA closest to you where you can experience the art.
- Click on the Regions button to see the different regions hosting art.
- Use the About button to learn more about the program and STEPS Public Art, contact STEPS, leave feedback and more.
- Don’t forget to Rate and Review on the App Store and Google Play to help spread the word!
Scan the QR code to download the app or visit the links below:
June BIA Activations
Projects kicked off this summer as artists collaborated with Trinity Bellwoods, MarkeTo, Oakwood Village, Port Credit, Downtown Timmons, and Mount Pleasant Village to activate main streets through creative projects that ranged from murals to one-of-a-kind Muskoka Chairs!
MarkeTo’s vision of creating an even more vibrant community through public art resulted in teaming up with artist Mel Hayes to design bold and colourful sidewalk decals to highlight local businesses and encourage the community to take part in MarkeTo’s 10,000 step summer walking challenge!
I HeART Main Street 2021 (June Highlights) Video
July BIA Activations
Artists worked with Albion Islington Square, Chinatown, Riverside, Leslieville, Clarkson Village, Downtown Whitby, GreekTown on the Danforth and Lakeshore Village to bring one-of-a-kind public art activations to life. From series of ground murals and beautiful street light banners, ideas were endless to cultivate hope and energy as pandemic restricts began to lift across communities.
August BIA Activations
Summer is winding down with more #MainStreetArtChallenge public art activations across Ontario! From Pape Village in Toronto to Burlington and Belle River, Ontario, participating BIAs and artists came up with colourful and impactful ideas to bring vibrancy to the local communities and businesses.
I HeART Main Street 2021 (June Highlights) Video
Fall / Winter BIA Activations
Returning and new BIAs kick off the next round of the I HeART Main Street program just in time for the cooler months! Look out for more Fall and Winter activations from BIAs and artists across Ontario!
Photo Credit: May Shi (Oakwood Village)
(Russell Hill Chiropractic, Eglinton Way Dentistry, Midroni Dental Care)
(Victory Menswear, The Healthy Butcher, 7 Numbers)
(Brush, Floss, Smile, Deluxe Cleaners, Crosstown Coffee Bar)
(Di Moda Lingerie, Groove School of Dance, CoVi Hair Design & Boutique)
(Go Dutch Bikes, Summerhill Market, Phipps Bakery)
Yen Linh Thai
(Gouter, Isle of Coffee, Hotel Gelato)
Photo Credit: May Shi (Eglinton Way)
Awards and Recognition
Through the presenting partnership of RBC Royal Bank and the City of Toronto, STEPS will provide prizes at the end of the summer to recognize participating BIAs who demonstrate ingenuity, creativity and a commitment to community engagement. Prizes will be awarded by a committee composed of local cultural and business leaders and will include a combination of monetary and in-kind support to realize future main street placemaking initiatives.
Congratulations to the following BIAs and artists who will receive financial and other support to scale future public art and placemaking projects:
- Community Engagement Award Winner: Oakwood Village BIA, Curtia Wright and Leone McComas
- Innovative Award Winner: Clarkson Village BIA, Mahmood Hosseini and Marie-Judith Jean-Louis
- Transformational Award Winner: Downtown Timmins BIA, Jennifer Ilett and Sophie Paas-Lang
BIAs and artists who have public art activations beginning in Fall 2021 are eligible for the next award season in 2022.
Award winners were selected through a review process that included an Awards Committee with cultural community representatives. Special thanks to the wonderful Committee Members involved in this year’s program:
- Keith Francis, Associate and Senior Director of Experience Outcomes at Forge Media + Design
- Dina Graser, Chair at Toronto Arts Council
- Jill Andrew, MPP
- Ann Pennicooke, Supervisor, Community Engagement (PAMA)
- Hiba Abdallah, Assistant Professor at University of Toronto
- Stefan Hancherow, Associate Art Curator at RBC
Learn More about I HeART Main Street
Partners and Supporters
I HeART Main Street, presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and ShowLoveTO produced by the City of Toronto, is generously supported by the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative funded by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, funding provided by the Government of Ontario, and Ontario Trillium Foundation for activations in Peel Region.