Safe Flight Home
A STEPS PUBLIC ART BIRD CONSERVATION PROJECT
A City of Toronto cultural hotspot signature project
Safe Flight Home is a community-based public art bird conservation project that began in 2020 through intergenerational engagement with free participatory arts workshops, resulting in a public art exhibition across North York. In partnership with FLAP Canada, a global leader in protecting birds from the hazards of urban environments, the community-produced artworks culminated in a series of large-scale vinyl window murals at three Toronto Line 1 subway stations in Fall 2021 with celebratory activities that took place on May 29, 2022.
Project at a Glance
transformed subway stations
daily TTC rides
augmented reality component in the works
About This Project
Safe Flight Home is a community-based public art bird conservation project combining participatory arts, bird conservation, animation and placemaking in partnership with FLAP Canada, a global leader in protecting birds from the hazards of our urban environment and teachings on how to protect migratory birds in our community, and produced by internationally-recognized artist Fatspatrol.
“We do not have a lot of public art projects that evolve within the communities and have social interactions – that is very important.”
– Fatspatrol, Lead Artist
A City of Toronto Cultural Hotspot Signature Project and as part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021 – 2022, Safe Flight Home began at the height of the pandemic in 2020 to safely engage the North York community through online art-making workshops led by Fatspatrol and FLAP Canada that explored themes of local bird species, migration and life cycles, while fostering understanding and community connections. A media release announcement was shared to celebrate the installation and cultural experience for North York transit users and visitors alike.
“Having recently moved to North York, I was interested in trying to find activities within the community. This program was such a wonderful introduction to the neighbourhood but also back to the joys of making art.”
– Nicole Pacampara, Workshop Participant
In collaboration with 50+ community members, the artworks that were produced in the homes of workshop participants transformed three Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway stations in Fall 2021 through large-scale vinyl and bird-safe window murals in time for bird migration season. In collaboration with Seneca 360, animation and augmented reality (AR) components will breathe more life into the one-of-a-kind art pieces.
Self-Guided Walking Tour and Augmented Reality
Safe Flight Home can be experienced virtually or in person through our self-guided walking tour on the STEPS Public Art mobile and web app. Learn more about the project, FLAP Canada’s initiative to prevent bird-window collisions, and how the community came together to create amazing and meaningful public artworks!
Scan the QR code to view the tour on our web app or visit the links below:
In Spring 2022, the animation component in collaboration with Seneca 360 was shared with the community to elevate the Safe Flight Home experience. Download the STEPS Public Art app today to start exploring existing public artworks in your community!
In October 2020, lead artist Fatspatrol taught mark-making techniques through free online workshops with participants who live, work or play between Sheppard Avenue West and Bathurst Street to Finch Avenue West and Weston Road in North York. Materials were provided to participants whose artwork will transform three TTC subway stations and the experience of Torontonians who pass through these public spaces daily.
“For me to share the personal journey I was having drawing birds with a community during a lockdown and connect it to a larger important message made it extremely meaningful. Speaking about freedom of movement, resilience, vulnerability, connection and hope within the context of our experience of the last year put a spotlight on the impact of human intervention on the natural world.”
– Fatspatrol, Lead Artist
The resulting vinyl murals collectively reflect the community, protect the selected subway stations against dangerous bird collisions, and raise awareness about a lesser-known environmental issue.
“Programming was informative while providing a space for us to be creative and meaningfully contribute to our community!”
– Maggie Lau, Workshop Participant
Safe Flight Home TTC Art Crawl
On Sunday, May 29, 2022, STEPS Public Art, lead artist Fatspatrol, and partner FLAP Canada for a fun art crawl to experience the artworks in person! Exhibited across three TTC Stations on Line 1 Yonge-University, participants stopped at each station with the project team to learn more about this community-engaged initiative and the positive impacts of bird-safe window designs during bird migration seasons.
About the Artist
Fatspatrol (Fathima) is an Indian-Canadian artist born and raised in Dubai. Her work is a study of symbols and semiotics and our drive to make sense of the world through mythology, folklore and storytelling. A 3rd culture kid who has spent most of her life influenced by multiple cultures but not fully identified by one, she seeks to find narratives and messages that resonate across borders and categories.
Fatspatrol’s style of drawing takes inspiration from illustrations and comic books. Her style also resonates Indian block printed fabrics, Arabic calligraphy, and other ethnic patterns and visual influences. Her art isn’t so much about a particular culture but rather a fusion of several that all seek to tell the same stories and connect people.
About Flap Canada
Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) Canada is a registered Canadian charity widely recognized as the pre-eminent authority on the bird-building collision issue. For almost 30 years, FLAP Canada has engaged millions of people with dozens of campaigns and initiatives with one goal: keep birds safe from deadly collisions with buildings.
Partners and Funders
A City of Toronto Cultural Hotspot Signature Project and as part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021 – 2022, Safe Flight Home is in partnership with FLAP Canada and made possible with the support of Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), TD Bank Group, Ontario Arts Council, funding provided by the Government of Ontario, Councillor James Pasternak, and Councillor Anthony Perruzza.
STEPS believes that public art should reflect the diverse identities and perspectives of the communities that host it. Artists have a critical role to play in shaping cities, and our Artist Capacity Building Programs are designed to amplify the work of Black, Indigenous, Persons of Colour, female, LGBTTQQIAAP and newcomer artists in public spaces.