Art-Making October 24, 2019

Making Public Art in Liberty Village!

By Jacqueline Black

We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with the Liberty Village BIA! Seeking to nurture arts and culture within their neighbourhood while fostering community engagement, the Liberty Village BIA reached out to us by way of a mutual friend and supporter, FORREC. The project involves 20 concrete benches and five SKETCH artists: Kaya DaCosta, Ezequiel Morales, Kamika Peters, Rowell Soller, and Amber Williams-King. Earlier this month, the five commissioned artists began painting the benches of Linear Park (on Liberty street from Jefferson to Fraser), transforming four benches each into permanent and site-specific murals. 

Artist Kaya DaCosta working on her benches for their series titled ‘Protectors.’

These benches infuse Liberty Street with a unique vibrancy and narrative. Some of the various themes explored within the murals revolve around human growth, reflection, and healing. The artists illustrate parallels between the past and present, as well as the spiritual and physical world. 

Artist Ezequiel Morales working on one of his benches, for the series titledMetamorphosis.’

The artwork developed for this project highlights the role of public art as a tool for storytelling, and its potential to empower urban growth and renewal. As a platform to professionalize the artistic practices of young artists, the collaboration demonstrates a shared commitment to revitalize neighbourhoods using the voices of the individuals who make up its greater community. The opportunity allows emerging artists to develop their craft in a professional, community-based setting while contributing to the beautification of the Liberty Village community.

Artist Amber Williams-King working on one of their vibrant benches.

Join the Artists for a Walking-Artist-Talk on November 5 at 3:30 pm. Meet us at the corner of Jefferson and Liberty Street. Bring your own mugs and join us for hot chocolate, and an artist talk from the five commissioned SKETCH artists, as well as the opportunity to engage with fellow community members.

 

               

The artists (from left to right): Kaya DaCosta, Rowell Soller, Ezequiel Morales, Amber Williams-King and Kamika Peters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

This project is courtesy of the generous funding from:

"You really want that utopian ideal of what our world could be? You want to be proudly and ACTIVELY anti-racist, more than fearing being called a racist? I want that for you too. If so, then do the work, educate yourself and others stand by us loudly, consistently, FOREVER." - Clara Amfo, BBC 1 Radio Host

Dear SKETCH Community,

The last two weeks have been yet another reminder that the Black community continues to be under attack by white supremacist systems. SKETCH's board of directors and staff sends their deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who we have most recently lost including Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and D’Andre Campbell, and all those whose deaths have not been televised.

In our grief and anger at these senseless murders committed by the police, SKETCH is ensuring that we stay accountable to our Black youth artists, staff and the Black community at large, by taking swift action to ensure that folks are supported, uplifted, taken care of and their voices amplified, as they continue to organize and march on the front lines for justice.

As an organization that is led by mainly white leadership, we are deeply committed to examining and activating our role as an accomplice to address violence, racism, oppression, and discrimination in our sector, in Toronto and in society generally.

This Means:
  • We will continue to look within and address our own biases and the ways that systemic and structural racism plays itself out in SKETCH;
  • We will increase investment and resources to young Black Artists;
  • We will endorse Black leadership in SKETCH and in arts and culture;
  • We will support self-care and resources for our Black staff; and
  • Our leadership will connect with other white leaders of arts and culture organizations to support Black leadership in the sector with resourced opportunities to lead in meaningful ways.

We want to acknowledge the trauma and grief of those who create with and work at SKETCH, who are Black. We know you endure violence on a daily basis. We want to reach out to support you, stand and work together with you, to fight for justice, for your health, and for your futures.

We seek to learn daily, with you, how to enact a more just present and future. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for calling us to be better. All of our liberations depend on it.

We join the movements for prison abolition, and for strong redirection of funding for policing to go toward community-based transformative justice efforts.

We call on the Arts Councils to create a Black Artists Fund to support Black Artists and Black Arts and Culture Organizations, recognizing and investing in their leadership in arts and culture, and in building fair and inclusive communities.

We encourage the non-Black community members of SKETCH to stand with us and take action by:
  • Educating yourself on the issues;
  • Supporting your Black staff with personal time for self-care;
  • Supporting the community by buying from Black-owned business (which include Black artists at SKETCH);
  • Donating to organizations that are directly supporting Black folks;
  • Reposting and resharing information on your social media feeds;
  • Having constant conversations with your peers, families, and friends; and
  • Signing petitions that call for justice.

With so many ways to actively support the dismantling of systems that continue to oppress the Black community, silence is not an option.

We welcome you all to join SKETCH in allying yourselves with the Black community in the fight for liberation for all, not as a token event, but one that actually leads to a re-education, re-evaluation, and unbiased and selfless action.

In solidarity,

SKETCH Working Arts

Artwork: Egwu Ogwu Mystic Dance by Kanna Anigbogu

Dear Friends and Investors,

Greetings from the SKETCH Project Home Team! We hope that you and your family are keeping well and safe during this time.

UPDATE: SKETCH is placing the capital campaign to purchase our studios on brief hiatus until the fall.

Our campaign has been a great success so far, with over $370,000 raised in funds and Community Bonds! However, in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, SKETCH is taking action to suspend the campaign to allow the time needed for those excited about our campaign to be in a more secure position to participate.

If you have already donated to the campaign, or purchased SKETCH Community Bonds, we deeply appreciate your commitment to Project Home. If you've just recently submitted your bond-purchase documents, we will still process your investment.

Have any questions about your donations or bond purchase? Please do not hesitate to contact SKETCH Executive Director, Rudy Ruttimann at rudy@sketch.ca.

This summer, we'll be working with our campaign partners and SKETCH community to determine exactly when we relaunch in the Fall. We'll be sure to keep you posted over the summer.

You can still inquire about SKETCH, our capital campaign, and its progress at invest@sketch.ca or by following us at @SKETCHToronto.

Thank you for your time, and we wish all the best for you and your family.

-The SKETCH Team & Campaign Advisory

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