We’re Looking for a Public Art Youth Coordinator

Are you (or someone you know) between the ages of 18 & 25; living or hanging out in the Thorncliffe / Flemingdon Park or Scarborough area and looking to get PAID to make awesome things happen here? Then, read on!!

The Toronto Emerging ARTivists (TEA) is a collective of young people (14 – 22) committed to improving their community through public art. We formed in early 2011 because we saw the lack of available spaces for us to foster community life and wanted to be leaders by drawing on our creative strengths. Our mission has been to improve public spaces, bring communities together and speak out against issues facing our communities. With the support of our partners, we have led several projects and supported youth-led projects both here and in other parts of the city, including the installation of the world’s tallest mural in St. James Town. We have increased the enthusiasm for art in the community and are recognized as a local voice for young people here, and have been recognized for our achievements as recipients of the 2013 Identify and Impact Community Arts Award. You can find out more about some of our work in Thorncliffe, by checking out this video.

Sound like something you could be into? ‘cuz we’re looking to PAY SOMEONE to help us out!

This person will help us with outreach (member recruitment), promotions (telling folks about what we’re up to), grant writing (helping us get money) and project management (helping us get stuff done).

Requirements of the Position:

  • Applicants must have the following prior experience and/or skills (work or volunteer):
  • Prior experience in facilitation; youth empowerment; art; activism/advocacy, etc.
  • Familiarity with the Thorncliffe, Flemingdon Park and/or Scarborough areas
  • Strong communication skills (both written and oral)
  • Confidence and comfort engaging with the public (particularly young people)
  • Experience working diverse / multicultural communities
  • A openness and willingness to try to new things and not be afraid to make mistakes
  • Motivation to work with little supervision (you’ll have to do a lot of work independently)
  • Ability to meet firm deadlines

Application Process:

Send us an email describing:

  • Why you are interested in the position
  • Why you think you’re a good fit for the position
  • (including any relevant experience or skills that you have)
  • What unique skills or experience you can bring to the group.

YOU MUST ALSO SEND US YOUR RESUME ATTACHED TO THE EMAIL to emergingartivist@stepsinitiative.com with the subject “Public Art Youth Coordinator” in the subject line.

Applications are due no later than January 31, 2014. We thank all interested parties, but only applicants that will be asked for an interview will be contacted.

Steppin Out Into the Community

We’ve been busy, and others have taken notice. In the last year, we have been invited to speak on our work at the Canadian Institute of Planners conference in Banff, Alberta, the National Planning Conference in Los Angeles, California, and the National Mural Symposium hosted by Mural Routes, here in Toronto.


Lead Artistic Facilitator on our Tallest Mural in the World project, Sean Martindale speaking at Voices of the City

In November 2013, we were asked to participate in the Voices of the City event at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, as part of a larger Fulbright project examining the impact of urbanization on the livability of the Greater Toronto Area, where we exhibited images from some of our recent community-engaged art installations.


PATCH staff participate at the Voices of the City event

Each of these events was very different in its scope, offering unique opportunities to share our work with diverse audiences.


Community Flag art activities at the Neighbours Night Out event

STEPS and the Toronto Emerging ARTivists (TEA), our youth-led arts collective, have been especially active in developing community partnerships and engaging community members through participation at local events, including Thorncliffe’s Neighbours Night Out, Diasporic Genius’ Story and Harvest Festivals, where we organized community arts activities which resulted in a temporary community environmental flag installation.

As a part of the Tower Renewal community consultations with the City of Toronto, United Way and the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, our youth group was invited to provide perspective and present their ideas for public art in the community. As a result, local residents advocated to prioritize public art as part of the revitalization.

Interested in having us participate in your event? Contact Alexis Kane Speer.

Seeking Volunteer Advisory Committee Members!

STEPS is currently seeking enthusiastic and qualified candidates to join our volunteer Advisory Committee. We are looking for candidates that are passionate about positively impacting public public spaces, building capacity through the arts and or fostering civic engagement among young people. Interested candidates must be able to attend meetings approximately eight times per year, with a two year commitment. While this is currently a non-legally binding Committee, we are seeking new members who may be interested in sitting on our formal Board of Directors once we incorporate in the coming year. For more information on available positions please visit our website.

Curating the City – One Site at a Time: New Construction Hoarding Art Enterprise Launched

AP Painting Workshop (DR) (31) (800x533)

Recently, STEPS launched our PATCH (Public Art Through Construction Hoarding) Project, which collaborates with land developers and local emerging artists to transform construction sites into venues for an ongoing curated art exhibit. We create cultural assets that not only improve the aesthetic quality of the street during construction, but attract people to an area, enliven the public realm, and promote the local cultural sector.

Toronto is experiencing a construction boom unrivaled anywhere in North America; as cranes and condo towers proliferate, so do excavation pits, scaffolding, and hoarding. To navigate some of the negative effects of construction sites, the PATCH Project works to install art along what otherwise would be the blank surface of an active site, most often, its construction hoarding.

While PATCH is a new project, it has been incredibly well received by local artists, City staff and land developers alike, and we are off to a great start. In the spring of 2013, we circulated a Call for Artists, through which we recruited an initial collective of local artists, all of whom are eager to exhibit new or existing work in the public realm and can be seen on our website.

Aside from delivering high-quality art installations in collaboration with local artists, PATH also launched its Portfolio Development Program (PDP) to provide capacity building opportunities for emerging artists who face numerous barriers to exhibiting in the public realm. We are happy to announce that we received funding from ArtReach Toronto to launch our youth-focused programming this winter.

AP Comm Engagement Evennt (DR) (5) (800x533)

Interested in learning more about PATCH? Visit our website or email us.

Building the Capacity of Toronto’s Emerging ARTivists

Our most successful capacity building endeavour to date has been our Emerging ARTivist Program, a workshop a leadership program for children and youth that uses art to explore urban design issues and provides them with a platform to propose their own public art projects. Over the last two years, we have collaborated with over fifteen artists in the delivery of a variety of programming from public performance to graffiti art and found object collage that have engaged hundreds of young people (ages 5 to 25) as well as thousands of community members in the successfully installation of several permanent public art projects across some of Toronto’s most underserved communities, and fueled the creation of the Toronto Emerging ARTivists – a citywide youth-led arts collective focused on transforming public spaces.

Through the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Arts Council, we have delivered this program in a variety of community and school settings, here are a few highlights:


Painting the different components of Fence Reclamation

Under the guidance of STEPS’ staff and with funding from the City’s StreetARToronto program, the group made a neglected high-traffic pedestrian corridor the site of a mixed media installation that transformed over 200 linear feet of chain link fence into a canvas for steel, wooden and acrylic artwork inspired by the local environment and cultural symbolism. Alongside collaborating artists Rodrigo Marti, and Anjuli Solanki, youth participants led the process from conception through design and installation; developing renderings, visiting fabricator studios, painting and installing the artwork. As a result youth participants have received tremendous community acclaim for this piece, and have been approached to collaborate (and lead) our City and community agencies.


Some of the Environmental stencils


Children stenciling on the schoolground pathways

In the spring of 2013, we were invited by the most populated elementary school in North America – Thorncliffe Public School, to engage their Grade 4 classes in arts workshops that explored local environmental issues, including the impact of consumption, waste and littering and resulted in large-scale public art installation on the school-grounds.
Through this program hundreds of stencils were applied to the school grounds pathways giving a colourful reminder of the environmental impact that children and local residents can have.

We also partnered with Lakeshore Arts to engage students at Lakeshore Collegiate in designing a functional sculpture that was installed at their school grounds on Kipling Ave.

This program has been generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Arts Council.

Interested in bringing this program to your community or classroom? Have an idea for a workshop? Let us know by contacting Anjuli Solanki.