Main Street Highlights Across Ontario!
We are winding down from summer but #MainStreetArtChallenge continues! Since June, the I HeART Main Street program presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and the City of Toronto has been supporting Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) across Ontario through placemaking services, creative coaching and collaborations with Canadian artists to create engaging public artwork to foster community through challenging times. From Toronto to Port Credit and Timmins in northern Ontario, check out some of the current and upcoming projects near you through the STEPS Public Art app!
Did you know participating BIAs also have a chance to win monetary and in-kind support valued at $30,000? Selected by a committee of local cultural and business leaders, projects that demonstrate ingenuity and commitment to community engagement will be awarded prizes for future main street placemaking ideas.
Join Us for Mural Making & Arts Workshops in Rowntree Mills Park
From Weeds We Grow is an interdisciplinary public art program led by STEPS that explores Rowntree Mills Park in Toronto’s Rexdale community through artistic, Indigenous, multicultural, environmental and community-based approaches. Join us on September 25-26 for a weekend of free interactive activities and performances led by artists and community members! This event is part of the Arts in the Parks 2021 programming and is open to members of the North Etobicoke community and anyone interested in deepening their connections to our natural public spaces.
STEPS is also supporting Park People’s Rowntree Mills Ravine Mural project with From Weeds We Grow collaborator Lindsey Lickers, Mushkiiki Nibi Kwe. Register for the free mural painting session happening on Saturday during this community event to brighten the Rowntree Road ravine entrance!
From Weeds We Grow: Beadwork Workshop
Take part in an interdisciplinary workshop on October 2nd led by artist Lindsey Lickers, Mushkiiki Nibi Kwe (Medicine Water Woman) at Rowntree Mills Park to explore the significance of water and connections to the environment through beaded artworks. This workshop includes material kits, a light lunch, and an opportunity to connect with the artist and fellow participants. Final artwork will be exhibited at the Albion Toronto Public Library and showcased as an online exhibit on the STEPS website to share creative processes and learnings.
Love Park Hoarding Exhibit Coming Soon!
In collaboration with artist Curtia Wright, BSAM Canada, Waterfront BIA and Waterfront Toronto, Love Park is an upcoming hoarding exhibit inspired by the vivid and rich textures of love and how it is understood as a symbol, thought and feeling. Earlier in the summer, a call for participation asked the community to submit written and audio love letter responses that will be incorporated into the artistic design surrounding the site in Toronto’s Queen’s Quay West.
The Hope in Chinatown Mural Begins
In partnership with Toronto’s Chinatown BIA and STEPS, local artist Wenting Li’s largest mural production is in full swing! Located in the laneway parking lot entrance behind Dragon City Mall and Pho Pasteur, this site was selected to brighten a busy location with feelings of hope and courage during a time of struggle for local businesses and the community.
As the Innovation Award Winner of last year’s I HeART Main Street, Chinatown BIA is putting their financial prize winnings and resources towards The Hope in Chinatown to continue their placemaking and COVID recovery initiatives. Learn more about our main street recovery services and contact us today to breathe life into communities!
Congratulations to CreateSpace artist-in-residence Amanda Lederle for completing their first ever ground mural series! Amanda is one of ten artists across Canada who are creating socially-engaged public artwork in their communities through the virtual CreateSpace Residency. Check out their work in Toronto’s Stackt Market.
Fellow artist-in-residence Charmaine Lurch’s I am Lucie, I am Thornton banner installation and performance piece has begun. This project celebrates the life of the Blackburns and their activism, lived experience on the land, and contributions to Toronto. Attend the live performance on September 18th and October 2nd from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT at the historical site of the Blackburn Home at 19 Sackville St, Toronto.
Projects are also wrapping up in Halifax by artist Arjun Lal and in Thunder Bay by Shelby Gagnon! More project reveals and updates coming soon, including information about free public programming events resuming this fall.
Community-Engaged Art in Leslie Nymark
Artist: Full Spectrum
Photo Credit: Selina McCallum
STEPS is working with Toronto Community Housing, Tridel and artist Jessey (Phade) Pacho with a team of artist collaborators to facilitate a public art project in the Leslie Nymark community in North York. With Leslie Nymark in its final stages of revitalization, this project includes skill-building workshops, employment opportunities and collaboration with the artists for new and returning residents that will leave a lasting legacy for years to come.
Two live outdoor painting events and an artist-led community photo walk were held this summer to engage with residents and jumpstart meaningful community activities as part of the upcoming mural production. Stay tuned for more news, including events and opportunities to get involved.
Exhibit Highlight: Shared Space
Photo Credit: Sharon Mendonca
Shared Space is a new hoarding exhibit by collage artist Danielle Cole in collaboration with Crown Communities in Toronto’s Sheppard West neighbourhood. The artwork is inspired by the co-existence of local animals, public parks and greenspaces that surround the new community. Visit the exhibit at 847-871 Sheppard Ave West in the new Greenwich Village neighbourhood!
Supporting artists and arts workers, especially those who face barriers in accessing public art opportunities, is at the core of STEPS’ mandate. Below are some of the current opportunities on our radar.
- Artist Call: Storefront Art, Lakeshore Village BIA (Ddln: Sep 16, 2021)
- Call for Submissions: COVID Digital Gallery (Ddln: Sep 17, 2021)
- Job Opp: Communications Manager, ArtsCan Circle (Ddln: Sep 21, 2021)
- Call for Curators: Being Scene, Workman Arts (Ddln: Sept 24, 2021)
- Call for Designs: DesignTO Symposium (Ddln: Sep 24, 2021)
- Call for Mural Proposals: Chinatown/Kensington BIA (Ddln: Sep 29, 2021)
- Community Building Fund’s Capital Stream, OTF (Ddln: Sep 29, 2021)
- Job Opp: Xpace Programming Assistant (Ddln: Sep 30, 2021)
- Artist Call: Community Centre, City of Red Deer (Ddln: Sep 30, 2021)
- Indigenous Arts & Culture Partnerships Fund (Ddln: Oct 1, 2021)
- Youth Opportunity: Malvern HERstory Project (Ddln: Oct 1, 2021)
- Call for Submissions: Paprika Theatre Festival (Ddln: Oct 3, 2021)
- Artist Call: Children 2021, Biafarin (Ddln: Oct 3, 2021)
- Artist Call: Frictions of Futurity, Tangled Art + Disability (Ddln: Oct 4, 2021)
- Black Arts Projects Grant, Toronto Arts Council (Ddln: Oct 7, 2021)
- Call for Independent Projects, DesignTO (Ddln: Oct 8, 2021)
- Artist-Presenter Collaboration Grant, OAC (Ddln: Oct 28, 2021)
- Call for BIPOC Curators, Museum of Mississauga (Ddln: Oct 29, 2021)
- Art Connects Indigenous Workshops, North York Arts (Multiple Dates)
- Call for Film Submissions: Mayworks 2022 (Rolling Deadline)
- Black Arts Projects Mentorship Program, NAN (Rolling Deadline)
- Call for Niagara Artists, Downtown Bench Beamsville (Rolling Deadline)
- Call for Emerging Artists, ArtworxTO, City of Toronto (Rolling Deadline)
- Indigenous Arts Projects Grant, Toronto Arts Council (Rolling Deadline)
- Richmond Street Cycle Track Art Project, StART (Rolling Deadline)
- Artist Call: Community Public Art Project, Burlington (Rolling Deadline)
- Artist Call: Boxes/Banners, Mississauga Arts Council (Rolling Deadline)
Thanks to contributions from community members like you, STEPS has supported over 130 public art initiatives and made over $350,000 in direct payments to Canadian artists and designers since the start of the pandemic, including $208,000 in 2021 alone.
Consider making a donation to support this important work!
Special Thanks to Our Funders and Supporters