A STEPS PROJECT
A City of Toronto’s Cultural Hotspot Signature Project, this interdisciplinary program facilitated in collaboration with Franco-Ontarian graffiti artist Mique Michelle transformed the Rexdale community through storytelling and co-created public art.
Project At A Glance
Location: Rexdale, Toronto (Finch Ave W, between Kipling and Islington Ave)
Artist(s): Mique Michelle (lead artist), Arts Etobicoke, Mural Routes, Womxn Paint
people experience this mural each day
sq. ft. of public artwork
community members engaged in project development
paid opportunities for Canadian artists and arts workers
“There are art galleries in downtown Toronto, but I don’t really see anything in this area so I am happy to have contributed to it. I think it’s important to show that we’re also here and we have a voice.”
– Jiya Patel, Community Artist Mentee
Toronto’s Rexdale community has incredible access to green spaces like the Humber River pedestrian trail, but the area has limited public art. STEPS was approached by Arts Etobicoke, the local arts service organization for the area, to design programming to enhance the neighbourhood’s public spaces, while providing arts and culture opportunities for local residents.
Alongside community members and partners, we transformed a 4,000 sq.ft. sound barrier seen by over sixty-five thousand people travelling across north Etobicoke each day!
Community programming included: a mural jam featuring women-identified artists, community co-created murals, walking tours, workshops that focused on appropriation, the history of graffiti, and painting techniques, as well as paid opportunities for emerging artists.
“…it’s been finding out what the intention is, what you wanna say, and then how do we communicate that? You know, if you just ask yourself what mural you wanna make, you’ll stick with a butterfly and you won’t be able to have the best option versus that dialogue is almost as important as putting a paintbrush on the wall.”
– Mique Michelle, Lead Artist
“My favourite part was really meeting other like-minded artists and kind of exploring the city in different ways where I’ve gone to different neighbourhoods that I don’t necessarily spend a lot of time in.”
– Sings to the Forest, Public Art Assistant
“I walked into the first workshop having absolutely no idea on what it entails to create a mural and now here I am a month and a bit later, having helped paint one. It’s a pretty phenomenal feeling to be involved in something I couldn’t imagine doing in my wildest dreams.”
– Eden Sterling, Community Artist Mentee
Under / Current has set the stage for cultural programming in the Rexdale community; serving as a platform to share ideas, bring people together and celebrate the hidden qualities that make our city’s neighbourhoods unique.
Check out our continued work in the community through From Weeds We Grow.