Our award winning Pop-Up ARTivations, which is both a mobile community resource and a program series, is the direct result of creatively challenging and changing how public spaces are used in our city.

The Pop-Up has been partially created by upcycling discarded wood and furniture, procured through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, thus creating a platform for passersby to engage in dialogue around consumption culture and environmental sustainability. It is designed to be accessible, versatile, and engaging, so as to provide a myriad of opportunities for its activation. Each time the installation “pops-up” in a community, it engages new people in cultural production on issues of social importance, as it offers endless possibilities: both in physical configurations and curation!

The mobile nature of this dynamic and multi-purpose Pop-Up allows STEPS and our partners to engage a diverse array of communities through activities that are both relevant and relatable to the spaces that will temporarily house it, included, but not limited to: arts workshops, performances, live arts creation and social gatherings, which can be curated around themes of the urban environment, community development, sustainability, social justice, consumption, among others.

Given our award-winning record of designing and hosting highly programming and outreach events, its not surprising that we have been invited to lead Pop-Up ARTivations in collaboration with some of the largest cultural events taking place across the Greater Toronto Area, Canada and the world. Events such as Nuit Blanche, a 12-hour event with a mandate to make contemporary art accessible to large audiences, while inspiring dialogue and engaging the public to examine its significance and impact on public space; Culture Days, a national celebration of culture with over 7,000 activities happening in over 800 communities across Canada; North York Arts Cultural Festival, a month long celebration of diverse musical, artistic, culinary and cinematic programming; Wallpeople, a day of action across over 40 cities worldwide that invites citizens to create galleries on public walls; and, 100 Interventions in 1 Day, a citizen driven festival that unites people to make our city a better place by creating acts of urban change.

This project has arisen from the shared visions of STEPS, collaborating designers Rodrigo Marti and Mahmood Popal, as well as the Toronto Emerging ARTivists, our youth-led arts collective, with whom we have developed several EcoArts projects across some of Toronto’s most underserved communities over the last year, and we are currently seeking partners to identify new programming opportunities around the GTA. Sound like something you could envision bringing to your community? Let us know by emailing Vera Belezelkoska.