Dream Big & A Standing Ovation

40 Cameron Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

In Alexandra Park, PATCH facilitated the creation of over 300 sq ft of artwork with Toronto-based artists, JAH and Danilo, and hundreds of community participants. For over two months, residents collaborated on the project from design conception to installation, with local youth participating in capacity building workshops and artwork production.

Reproductions of the artwork will be installed along Cameron Street (just west of Spadina and Queen) in downtown Toronto. This location is an active construction site for the fifteen year revitalization of Alexandra Park, a project led by Toronto Community Housing (TCH) and Tridel Corp, in collaboration with the Atkinson Housing Co-operative. The original works will remain in a community centre, where they can be enjoyed by all beyond the length of construction.

Given the central role of community engagement in this revitalization project, Tridel, TCH and local City Councillor Adam Vaughan wanted artwork that reflected the community’s diverse stories and aspirations, and to build the capacity of local residents in the process.

The project kicked off by asking residents what they would like to see visually represented in the new works. Then PATCH held an outdoor live painting event with the lead artists, where the residents learned about the project and shared their ideas. Over a dozen capacity building workshops were held, involving over 50 young residents learning how to work with aerosols, practiced presentation skills, and informed the works’ designs.

Youth participants were impacted by their experience in many ways, as it gave them a sense of ownership, knowing they can have an influence on how their neighbourhood looks and feels. Life-long resident of Alexandra Park, Labib (age 16), said: “It is so great to be a part of this project. In the future I can look at the art and say ‘I helped create that.’”