O’Keefe Laneway Revitalization

“Grow. Rise. Lead.”

The design concept depicts stylized lettering in a cubist street art style that is urban, contemporary and nontraditional from a street art tagging perspective. The design incorporates the Ryerson colours, among a few darker tones to situate it within the laneway context. STEPS facilitated the design process by hosting various feedback sessions: 1. an in person feedback session during which various stakeholders provided feedback and encouraged iteration of the initial drafts, and 2. a deliberative feedback process during which stakeholders provided feedback on 3 design concepts, choosing this as their preferred style. The proposed design concept was especially favoured by the RU Marketing Department.

The word Grow speaks both to the students’s journey through the doors of the university, developing both academically and personally. However, this design was intentionally placed on the electrical boxes in the garden to celebrate the students’ desire to create a small green patch of life at the entrance of the laneway, seeing nature as an integral part of our urban environment.

The words Rise and Lead speak to the students learning process at Ryerson, while also relating to the youth who find a supporting community at YSM and the Covenant house; continuing to rise above adversity to become the next generation of leaders in their communities. Rise and Lead also speak to the this neighbourhood’s constant change both in structure (new buildings rising above the city line), and in nature (laneways becoming a new community resource). This concept also appeals to the BIA’s role in helping this community become a leader in innovative urban spatial use with their laneway transformation initiative.

The lead artist on the project, Peru Dayer Jalea, is trained in both traditional and digital art, finding his calling as a graphic artist and muralist. Inspired by his travels and cultural background, he oftentimes combines pre-Columbian and Haida motifs while applying techniques learned in academia, as well as the many styles picked up on the streets of the three continents where he has lived.