Presented with RBC Royal Bank, The STEPS Initiative is pleased to announce the launch of the I heART Main Street Art Challenge.
To support our city and the culture that brings our communities together, STEPS is offering artists and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) the opportunity to increase feelings of trust and community through DIY art installations.
In only two weeks, over 20 BIAs submitted requests for free public art coaching, artist introductions, fee subsidies, promotional support and a chance to win prizes to scale their ideas over the pandemic recovery period.
The 42 new artworks currently underway were brought to life in collaboration with 25 local creatives; many of whom identify as emerging or BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) artists who have been impacted by a loss of income over the pandemic.
“The pandemic has changed our everyday life, but we can still appreciate art and being outdoors with others.” -Jieun June Kim, participating artist
“We believe that placemaking has the power to help revitalize our main streets, and plays a vital role in a holistic, local economic recovery plan” -Tasneem Bandukwala, Gerrard India Bazaar BIA.
Activations are as diverse as the communities hosting them, including locally inspired sidewalk decals (Downtown Yonge, Fairbank Village, Danforth Mosaic); temporary ground murals (Leslieville); window exhibits with illustrated stories of local BIPOC community members (Riverside); painted benches (Port Credit); and cultural walks (Gerrard India Bazaar and Cabbagetown).
“In collaboration with two Asian-Canadian artists, we’re adding beauty to the local experience, and celebrating the unique culture of the area.” -Lucia Huang, Chinatown BIA.
For Natalie Hart with Malton BIA, hosting a crosswalk mural and other artwork near Westwood Square, “the Art Challenge is a way of bringing hope, vibrancy and beauty to our gathering places.”
Follow @stepsinitiative and #mainstreetartchallenge on Instagram or Facebook to experience online activations throughout September 2020.
STEPS is a Canadian-based public art organization that fosters dynamic, inclusive and resilient communities through one-of-a-kind art initiatives and engagement strategies realized in collaboration with their artist roster and through calls-for-artists.
SOURCE The STEPS Initiative
For further information: interviews: Alexis Kane Speer, 416-366-6565×3, alexis@