Ossington LaneWay Art Project Benefits Community

If you’re in the neighborhood this weekend, make sure to stop by the alleyway behind the west side of Ossington between Queen and Humbert Streets. That is the site for the “Brighten the Corners For the Love of Art” mural project to beautify the laneway and transform it into a 24 hour outdoor art gallery accessible to everyone.

We stopped by last night and met one of the organizers of the program, Steve Ferrara of Well and Good, and watched some of the artists in action. Artists will be painting between Thursday, August 9, 2012 and Sunday, August 12, 2012, between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
This initiative really is a grass-roots local operation, having started at Academy of Lions on Ossington. It is an extension of the Cross Fit Graffiti Art Program, funded by ProAction Cops and Kids, and features some youth who were involved in that program, which was supported by 14 Division Youth Community Police Liaison Committee and officers from 14 Division School Watch. Academy of Lions is still a focal point for the operation, serving as home base and providing storage for the paint and supplies.

Two of the artists we saw in action last night were Peru143 and EGR, and there are 20 artists altogether who will be painting walls and garages in the alleyway all weekend. According to Steve, many of the artists are local, some are art school trained, and others are learning as they go.

When you visit, you will notice that many of the garage doors have already been tagged, and it doesn’t look like art. This project has been months in the making to cover up those tags, or cover the bare walls before they get tagged, because every wall or garage that gets painted this weekend requires the consent of the owner. The results are really powerful, interesting and artistic. Below is EGR’s mural:

Steve believes in the power of art to bring people together and improve the community, and just hanging out in the alley for a short time last night, we witnessed some of that. It was a rainy night, and it will continue to rain today, but neighbors were out, walking with umbrellas, inspecting the murals, and talking to the reporters and artists at work. Once the work is completed, which may take longer than this weekend due to inclement weather, participants hope it will become another local destination for art lovers.
We learned about this initiative through twitter, and a lot of the players use this social media tool to communicate with each other and the public. They are even managing to get some donations for the project – yesterday we saw a tweet that BQM provided lunch to those involved. To follow on twitter, use the hash tag #tdotlaneart – maybe you’ll see another local restaurant get props for their generosity.
There are still many more garages to be painted, and we’ll be back at least once this weekend to photograph the process and share those pics with you here. You are also welcome to stop by yourself and see the artists at work. Here’s Peru’s mural:
At Ossington Village, part of our mission is to promote the people and businesses who are investing their own money and time to improve our community. This project, and all the people behind it, from business owners, to cops, to artists, community organizers and kids, is a prime example. We’d like to increase our focus on this kind of project, so please share with us.