• Selected TEA Youth working on mural Photo credit: Anjuli Solanki

“In Our Hands” – an environmental mural at Valley Park Middle School

Communication is essential to bringing about environmental awareness.

“In Our Hands”, an environmentally mural was designed and painted by local Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park youth under the mentorship of celebrated local artist Nick Sweetman, in collaboration with The STEPS Initiative. This newly created  mural, faces the city’s first cricket field on the grounds of Valley Park Middle School.

Youth leaders from the Toronto Emerging ARTivists have developed the mural’s design, which illustrates the impact of environmental stewardship over several generations with the visual incorporation cupping hands (taken from pictures of community members) of various ages, holding a growing sapling. The new work is comprised of four (4), 8 by 15 feet wall sections. The mural not only contribute to environmental, but speaks to historic legacy of the Don River, while beautifying this new public space.

The Don River and Don Valley symbolize an important connector of transition throughout history. Leaves made from chalkboard paint woven throughout the work enable community members to share their thoughts and aspirations for our local environment. This installation is intended to be a site of dialogue through continued programming developed in collaboration with project partners.

Embedded throughout the mural are large black leaves  painted with chalkboard paint and will allow members of the public to draw or write in their ideas on how they can positively impact the environment as well as is a social reflection of people’s ideas and inspirations. We hope that this installation will become a site of dialogue about local environmental issues, as well as local heritage through continued programming developed in collaboration with our partners.

This project has been made possible through the support of Kiwanis, TD Canada Trust, the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Province of Ontario’s PanAm Ignite Program, ArtReach Toronto, Flemingdon Health Centre, Dulux Paint, Greenwin Inc, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office and Valley Park Middle School.