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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

The Power of Place: Artists as City Builders

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Welcome to The Power of Place: Artists as City Builders. This series emerged out of my strong interest to share with you the incredible work that is happening across the city by artists supported by our StreetARToronto team, with a focus on highlighting the work being done by diverse Indigenous, Black, and Peoples of Colour artists throughout Toronto.

View my previous interviews with Anishinaabe Knowledge Keeper Andre Morrisseau of Fort William First Nation here, and Leyland Adams here.

Caitlin is an illustrator and mural painter based in Toronto who enjoys working in urban gardens and organic farms. She first painted with the Buck Teeth Girls Club in 2015 when her talents were later nurtured by local communities in Yogyakarta, Indonesia while she was there exploring the links between food and community which she continues to cultivate back here at home in Toronto. Cailtin shares her lived experience of StART’s ‘Career Ladder for Artists’ in action, from the mentorship she received from senior artist Jim Bravo, to applying to StART’s open calls to artists, and opportunities to work on all womxn-identified street art projects. Enjoy!

In this video Caitlin and I talk about the public realm as “gallery experience” on the streets of Toronto, an effect that is created through “curated” street art projects like StART’s Lansdowne Underpass and Richmond Cycle Track Projects highlighted in this video, as well as the iconic “Grit” Laneway behind the El Mocambo. In these projects, multiple artists come together to-create a cohesive “exhibit” of murals facilitated by a Curator who is aligned with StART values and has a deep knowledge of StART’s Career Ladder for Artists. Like so many artists, Caitlin began her journey up the Career Ladder through StART’s Outside the Box Program. Caitlin was also the Artist Coordinator for our Quiet Streets “Art Block” Program, and shares her thoughts on the many aspects of art-making in the public realm that begin long before any paint goes on the wall, and continue after a mural has been created. Enjoy!

Using her StART Cycle Track and Destination Danforth mural projects as the backdrop, Caitlin and I spend our time in this video essentially talking about best practices for working with equity deserving groups. Caitlin describes how she approached and consulted with an Indigenous Elder for advice and guidance related to the inclusion of potentially sensitive mural symbols and imagery, and also described her collaboration process for a community engaged mural about racism. As we enter 2022, I hope this video renews your commitment to advance equity and inclusion in tangible and meaningful ways to help build healthier, safer, and more livable communities. I encourage all to go out and experience and enjoy the entire Destination Danforth project including Caitlin’s mural at 2451 Danforth Avenue.

Videographer & Video Editor: Mitchell Roberts

Photo by: Caitlin Taguibao