STEPS supports the development of interdisciplinary youth-led public art projects that are rooted in issues that young people have identified as facing their local community.

In 2012, under the mentorship of Program Manager Anjuli Solanki and Lead Artist Rodrigo Marti, youth from the Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park communities reclaimed a high traffic but derelict pedestrian corridor, plagued by litter, poor lighting and a general lack of safety.

This mixed media permanent art installation transformed over 200 linear feet of chain link fence into a canvas for steel, wooden and acrylic elements inspired by the local environment and culture, with the youth leading the process from conception through design and installation.

Designs included a celebration of imagery common in textiles found around the world (drawing primarily from South Asia, where many local residents originate), as well as commentary on environmental issues, such as trees and “lighting” to subtlety draw attention to the lack of these features along the pathway. Since its installation, lighting along the pathway and in the adjacent park has been improved.

This project was supported by the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program, along with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, with significant contributions from Kramer Inc.