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We Breathe As One

This mural, appropriately titled “We Breathe as One”, celebrates the connections amongst the many cultures that reside in the Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park communities. The themes captured in its series of floating bubbles—including the community’s cultural diversity, varied landscapes, and rich histories—were collaboratively developed by participating youth artists, and reflect the ways in which they view their community.

Over twenty local youth worked with the mentorship of artist Nick Sweetman and STEPS staff who ensured that participating youth developed their artistic and leadership capacity to lead future public art projects in their community. Over this period, the group hosted several community painting sessions, during which residents of all ages and backgrounds were encouraged to participate in the creation of the smaller bubbles, visible in the design.

Members of STEPS youth-led arts collective (TEA) dedicated themselves to the creation of this mural with the intent of igniting communal unity; sending a statement about how art can transform public spaces and ultimately, shining an artistic light on a neighbourhood that embraces diversity. The work’s mobile nature ensures that it can continue to beautify spaces around the community for years to come.

This mural was initially unveiled on May 3rd, 2014, adjacent to the East York Town Centre food court, as a part of National Youth Arts Week – a celebration of youth-led arts across Canada.

This project was made possible by a partnership between the Toronto Emerging ARTivists, the STEPS Initiative and the East York Town Centre. It was supported by the Laidlaw Foundation, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the City of Toronto, as well as received in kind contributions from Diasporic Genius.

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