Many of us are creatures of habit and often don’t notice the beauty on our streets and buildings, but public works of art are important aspects of our community. They bring people together, instill pride, improve our neighbourhoods and provide a sense of belonging.
Last year, the city started a program called Cultural Hotspot that celebrates community, culture and creativity by highlighting inner suburban communities across Toronto. Although it has yet to be launched in North York, we already have much to celebrate.
North York is peppered with murals and sculptures that tell the stories of our neighbourhoods, including pieces at the Baycrest and Columbus centres and Yorkdale subway station. Admission is free and always accessible. In an effort to showcase the beauty of public art, I began a project called Gallery15. Visit my website at www.joshcolle.ca to see images of my favourite pieces, and visit my Facebook page to share your own.
Public art provides great value to our communities, and I was pleased to be one of the many councillors who supported increased funding to the arts in the 2014 city budget. Recently, City of Toronto staff held a meeting to promote the public art program StreetArt Toronto. I was disappointed to learn that no meetings were planned outside of the downtown core so have since requested a similar meeting in North York to provide information on this city program.
The next time you are out in the community, I invite you to take a new route or look down a different alley and take a fresh look at the art and culture that surrounds us.