Whether you look to the 80-foot-long mosaic at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, the giant white wording ‘You’ve Changed’ on the side of a building near Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue or the Greenwood Village Mural in the Beach, Lilie Zendel said the first year of StreetARToronto (StART) accomplished exactly what the program set out to do.
“(StART) was created last year as part of the graffiti management program to support and celebrate permitted graffiti and street art,” said Zendel, manager of the City of Toronto program .
StART is administered by the Public Realm Section of the Transportation Services Division at the City of Toronto and aims to develop, support, promote and increase awareness of street art and its role in adding beauty and character to neighbourhoods across Toronto.
StART hosted a meeting at MOCCA in West Queen West on Jan. 21 to wrap up their inaugural year and share details of this year’s program.
In 2012 StART partnered with 20 Toronto organizations to create 48 murals across the city, on walls, fences, underpasses, benches and pavement, particularly in areas that are targeted by graffiti.
The creation of these murals assisted in cleaning up 1,300 pieces of ‘tagging’. More than 60 artists were involved in the projects.
The challenges that program participants faced in the first year, Zendel said, was finding the funds to match StART grants, which is a criteria of the program, finding walls to use in the city, and managing complaints from building owners, artists, non-profits and Business Improvement Areas.
The other big issue is maintaining the murals and preventing vandalism.
“We certainly want to expand as much as we can in a geographic sense,” Zendel said.
In 2013 StART will continue with its Partnership Program and its Diversion Program, which involves at-risk youth. Although StART aims to support artists it does not fund artists directly, but funds projects through organizations.
Applications for murals to be painted this year are due by April 15 and they can be made through the StART website at http://www.toronto.ca/streetart/
Applications have to be made by incorporated non-profit or charitable organizations and must operate in Toronto.
“I personally would like to see some really large-scale projects this year,” Zendel said, adding the maximum funding for the partnership program has been increased to $30,000.
The StART contribution cannot exceed 70 per cent of the cost of the mural and of that remaining 30 per cent the partner organization must raise at least 15 per cent in cash.
By the spring of 2013 Zendel said they hope to launch a user-friendly map, which gives the details of the 585 murals and street art pieces found in Toronto. The map would include information about the artists and their inspiration for the work.