This August, Mural Routes is celebrating the completion of our longest mural project yet! The Connections Mural covers a 760 foot long cement wall with gradients of bright colours and designs representing textile patterns from around the world. The mural is located at Don Mills Rd. and Sheppard Avenue E. and is seen by thousands of community members and commuters in this diverse area of North York.
Lead Artist Rob Matejka and Assistant Artist and Volunteer Coordinator Tara Dorey worked with assistant Frances Potts, youth team members Leo, Teddy, and Vince, and dozens of volunteers to complete the project.
The project began to develop at the Toronto Public Library, Fairview Branch, with our Introduction to Mural Art program where participants brainstormed ideas. The mural designs created during this program were then put on display at Parkway Forest Community Centre for a week in June, alongside Rob Matejka’s proposed design. See here for more information on Rob’s design.
The design was also displayed at Councillor Shelley Carol’s Ward 33 Summer Celebration on June 25, 2016, where we received feedback from the community. Our Mural Art Career Development students attended the celebration, facilitated art activities, and informed the community that a mural was on the way.
The team began the mural making process in early July, gathering textile patterns from various cultures and hand-cutting each stencil. Rob and the team mixed all 300 colours included in the mural and painted a total of 1161 concrete blocks on the expansive retaining wall.
Throughout the painting of the wall, the artists were celebrated on a daily basis by the public. They were greeted with countless positive remarks, kind words of gratitude from community members, and honking cars of travellers enjoying the colours as they drove by. The team set up their mural headquarters at Parkway Forest Community Centre, and was supported by the Centre’s fantastic staff, led by Community Recreation Programmer Mark McKay. Even the children from the Centre’s summer camp contributed, coming out for some one-on-one mentoring with the artists and making their mark on the wall.
Mural Routes and project partners StreetARToronto, Cultural Hotspot, and Councillor Shelley Carol gathered with members of the community on August 10 at Parkway Forest Community Centre to celebrate the completion of the Connections Mural. Congratulations were expressed to all involved, and lead artist Rob Matejka shared his reflections on growing up in North York and walking by (and on) the blank wall as a child. The group was led by the artists to the wall to get an up-close look at the mural. It was a wonderful day admiring the work and celebrating the mural.
A huge thank you goes out to our project partners, StreetARToronto, Cultural Hotspot, Councillor Shelley Carol and the fantastic staff at Parkway Forest Community Centre. Your support made this project possible!
To the artists – you are awesome! Thank you for being so dedicated to this project.
To all of our volunteers who braved the heat with us – every block of colour counts and we appreciate you!
The Connections Mural is a Signature Project of the Cultural Hotspot, produced in partnership with the City of Toronto.
The Connections Mural is supported by StreetARToronto.
Connections Mural youth employment made possible by Canada Summer Jobs and TDSB Focus on Youth.