Mural Wings its Way to New Record


A 32-story-tall phoenix is set to soar to a new world record this weekend in Ontario, Canada, in the form of the world's tallest mural.

Created by hundreds of community volunteers, the dramatic, colorful bird adorns the exterior of a Toronto Community Housing property called St. James Town.
The work is to be unveiled Saturday (Sept. 28) with a neighborhood celebration, and organizers say the community-art installation will soon notch a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's tallest mural.
The artwork is the brainchild of the STEPS (Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Spaces) Initiative in partnership with the St. James Town Community Corner, a multipurpose community space and services hub.
Rising against Stereotypes
The mural’s soaring bird figure aims "to counter the negative stereotypes associated with St. James Town, alongside designs that represent themes of diversity, accessibility, local culture, safety and happiness weaved into its lower sections," project organizers said in a release.
“I have never seen so many people stop by and look at our building,” says local artist George McIntyre, a resident of the high-rise at 200 Wellesley St.
Local artist Sean Martindale worked with community members to develop the mural’s design and served as the lead artistic facilitator. Tenants and other community members added their own designs and touches.

Emerging ARTivist Program participant Samantha Goh, 17, works on a lower section.

Locals proudly say the work has given the community a "brand-new look."

Community Effort

The mural was overseen by STEPS' Emerging ARTivist Program. The project caps a yearlong effort that brought together more than 50 young people from the St. James Town community and hundreds of other community volunteers.

Local officials have supported the project, and multiple organizations and companies have donated to the effort. Funding came primarily from StreetARToronto (StART), a city public art program, with additional help from the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, ING DIRECT, and Toronto Community Housing.

Local businesses pitching in included Dulux Paints, Skyway Canada, Modu-Loc, Joe Huffers Paint Shop and Hello Foto.

Jason Rouleau and Ryan Dineen of the Toronto Muralists painted the mural’s upper sections.

STEPS Mural STEPS Initiative
Sean Lilani (left); Hello Foto (right)

Jason Rouleau (pictured) and Ryan Dineen of the Toronto Muralists painted the upper sections of the 32-story-tall mural.

'Shining Example'

Mayor Rob Ford said the project would "add vibrancy to the Wellesley community."

Local Councillor Pam McConnell said, "Beautification of our public spaces is an essential component of building and maintaining healthy communities.

"This spectacular mural is a shining example of the resiliency and creativity of the young people of St. James Town, and stands as a beacon of pride in their community on display for all of Toronto to enjoy."

More project details and photos are available on the STEPS Initiative's Facebook page.



Tagged categories: Architectural coatings; Artists; Color; Color + Design; Design; Exterior painting; Housing; Murals; Project Management

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