Social Norms

CreateSpace Public Art Forum 2022

An artistic response to the 2022 CreateSpace Public Art Forum, a national forum virtually convening participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. Participants were presented with online talks themed around public art practices, studio tours by artist facilitators, a Keynote Event by artist Lori Blondeau, and opportunities to engage with fellow peers to inspire their final creations.

Project at a Glance

Location: Burlington, Ontario

Artist: Hope Flynn

Year: 2022

Program: Artist Capacity Building


CreateSpace participants


artist facilitators


keynote speaker

Artist Statement

My “Social Norms” artworks respond to ideas discussed by Jenel Shaw and Amanda Lederle in the CreateSpace Public Art Forum videos. Specifically, my “Social Norms” art series is about how these animals adapt to their new human environment and go outside their comfort zone. My “Social Norms” series focuses on the autistic spectrum; as an autistic artist, my artwork explores the social norms through my animal paintings. I envision myself as these animals and how they may navigate technology developed in the 21st century. “How do these animals adapt to wearing human clothes they are not used to wearing?”

  People with disability have to problem solve many aspects of their lives. For instance, for me being a person with autism, I find it can be hard to try new things; especially if it involves writing and public speaking. Whenever I am writing for a grant or preparing to go to a social event I suffer from anxiety; where I feel my heart is racing like the middle painting. However, even though there are more difficulties with having a disability, we are resilient and proud of ourselves. Most specifically, like Jenel Shaw, said: “We are proud to claim our disability with pride as part of our identity; we are who we are.” Lastly, I believe my disability helps my painting to be unique and allows me to have a different perspective on the animals I paint.

About the Artist

Hope Flynn

Hope Flynn

CreateSpace Public Art Forum

STEPS Public Art believes public art has the ability to challenge the systemic inequities that exist in public space. In support of this important work, we facilitate artist capacity building programs that foster inclusive public art practices, build the capacity of underrepresented artists, and demonstrate how public art can help reimagine equitably designed cities.

CreateSpace Public Art Forum is a digital forum that virtually convenes participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. This forum fosters connections, builds understanding across geographies and cultures, as well as provide emerging equity-seeking artists with the skills, relationships and support needed to develop public art practices. Visit the online gallery to view all artistic responses by the 2022 forum participants.

CreateSpace Public Art Forum is supported by Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts and CIBC.

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