After three years of project planning and execution, Art on the Move has completed its initiative to beautify Toronto through ‘art-wrapped’ vehicles. On Tuesday, June 14, the five newest additions to their fleet of painted vehicles were unveiled at The Assembly Hall. Local leaders and participants gathered to celebrate the achievements of the volunteer contributors, whose hard work will be enjoyed for years to come.
While the gallery world is plagued with accusations of elitism and inaccessibility, public art can be equally problematic. As advertisements occupy more and more of the public landscape, audiences are left with little to enjoy freely, without the intrusion of commercial intent. Addressing this scarcity of benign public art, Arts Etobicoke and Lakeshore Arts partnered to launch the Art on the Move initiative.
Promoting itself as a “mobile arts project,” Art on the Move enlisted local artists to lead community groups in the painting of donated vehicles. The finished products will be used throughout the GTA, brightening the streets with travelling works of art.
With the generosity of vehicle owners and volunteer participants, the project has transformed 13 vehicles over its three year span. Vehicles involved range from cube vans, to trucks, to a 32 foot sailboat.
This year, the participating groups included CAMH, Creative Village Studio, Toronto Public Library’s Youth Advisory Group, Stonegate Community Health Centre, and the Second Base Youth Shelter. Lead artists collaborated with their designated team to devise an artistic design that reflected the group’s community and values. The results are striking, with animated motifs serving as a welcome change from facades that are typically barren or plastered with ads.
In addition to contributing to the visual appeal of public space, the initiative’s employment of community groups prompted empowerment and personal growth. Engaging citizens in producing something tangible fostered skill development and self-confidence, while the positive learning environment provided participants with a haven of support and camaraderie.
Although Art on the Move celebrated its conclusion on June 14, the bounty yielded from the innovative project will surely be enjoyed for years to come.
Amy Goudge is the Summer 2011 Membership Intern at Neighbourhood Arts Network.