A STEPS PROJECT
In celebration of the Lunar New Year, a collaborative public art installation that engaged an intergenerational community of participants and resulted in a public artwork viewed by thousands.
PROJECT AT A GLANCE
Location: Downtown, Toronto (Dragon City Mall, 282 Spadina Ave)
Artist(s): Lead Artist PUFF Paddy with Assistant Facilitators Meegan Lim and Christie Carriere
community members engaged
paid mentorship opportunities
The Chinatown BIA approached STEPS to develop a public art program that would not only build community, but also increase awareness of local businesses within Toronto’s Chinatown neighbourhood. The vision was to launch this cultural experience during the 2020 Lunar New Year celebrations.
With our strong commitment to artist capacity building, STEPS felt it was important to collaborate with neighbouring OCAD University to cultivate unique learning opportunities for emerging local artists and designers.
Working closely with OCADU’s Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers, STEPS was able to identify OCADU alumni PUFF Paddy as lead facilitating artist and together offered several paid opportunities for members of the OCADU community to develop their portfolio, gain valuable community facilitation experience as well as contribute to shaping this unique public project.
“Personally, it has been a while since I have been able to feel connected and involved with my own culture in a positive way. Hearing phrases or greetings in Mandarin and Cantonese around me, made me feel at home and a part of something bigger – and I hope that this sparks more inclusive events that immerse people in the Chinese culture. It has been so fulfilling and heartwarming to be a part of something like this; being able to benefit the community just adds to the overall satisfaction I have had with the whole project.”
– ?, Assistant Facilitator
– PUFF Paddy, Lead Artist
Yue Moon aimed to bring the Chinatown community together to explore a contemporary approach to the ancient art of lantern making. Over three weeks, through a classic Toronto forecast in January including torrential rainstorms and snowstorms, we engaged over 100 participants ranging in age from 2 to 80+. The energy and excitement to be a part of the project was palpable. Each lantern created during the workshops collectively formed the final Yue Moon Public Art Installation, unveiled as part of the Chinatown BIA Lunar New Year celebrations at Dragon City Mall.
This project created space for people to connect, contribute and see themselves reflected within their own community through a collaborative public art installation experience. STEPS, the Chinatown BIA and Paddy are exploring how this program can be scaled in future years.