A pair of Toronto neighbours, Elly Dowson and Christine Liber, set out to cover the coach-house doors in their laneway with awesome murals. This was in the context of an edict from Toronto's dipshit mayor, Rob Ford, who has instituted fines for property owners who don't remove graffiti from their premises. Dowson and Liber figured taggers would be less likely to go after murals, and that their project would also beautify their neighbourhood.
Elly and Christine delivered flyers along their street – they offered to paint resident’s garages with art. The service was offered free of charge, and the paint was generously donated by Maple Paints on St. Clair Avenue West. Responding to the flyer, residents who share the laneway between Kenwood Avenue and Wychwood Avenue began to grant permission to have their garages turned into ‘urban art’. Elly and Christine got to work.
Some of the art was created through stencils, some of the paintings were inspired by artists like Miro, Keith Haring and Mark Rothko, and some were original creations. Soon, the ‘urban art’ initiative started to gain momentum – with good weather on their side, Elly and Christine painted 21 garages in 21 days. Some of the residents had a ton of graffiti, and some had none at all – but everyone agreed that the art might be a great way to minimize future graffiti.
The Kenwood/Wychwood laneway has become a living art gallery. The new art quickly became a destination within the neighbourhood – there was a noticeable increase in foot and bicycle traffic, making for a safer laneway. The initiative not only galvanized the street, but the laneway became a source of pride and has helped build a sense of community.
Elly was once my babysitter -- this is so cool.
(via Torontoist, thanks Mom!)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.