This series of public art installations on existing infrastructure was commissioned by Ryerson University’s Strategic Planning and Partnerships Department as part of the wider revitalization of O’Keefe Laneway.
Produced in collaboration with artist Peru Dyer Jalea, the works embody a cubist street art style that is urban and contemporary. 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 engagement sessions with community stakeholders.
The series title – “Grow, Rise, Lead” was carefully developed. “Grow” speaks both to the students’ development journey and this element was intentionally placed on the electrical boxes in the laneway garden. “Rise” and “Lead” reference the students’ learning process, as well as relate to youth who find a supportive community at the neighbouring Yonge Street Mission and the Covenant House; continuing to rise above adversity. They also reference the neighbourhood’s constant change both in structure (new buildings rising above the city line), and in nature (laneways emerging as community resources). This concept also appeals to the Downtown Yonge BIA’s role in supporting the area’s public realm innovative through their laneway transformation