Established: Toronto, Fall 2011
After trying to remove tagging and graffiti from the laneway behind their houses, two Kenwood Avenue neighbours – Elly Dowson (who is an artist and graphic designer) and Christine Liber (who is an art lover) – decided to counter the graffiti with ‘urban art’.
Elly and Christine delivered flyers to their neighbours along their street – they offered to cover the tagging and paint their garages with art. The service was offered free of charge, and the paint was generously donated by Maple Paints on St. Clair Avenue West. Responding to the flyer, residents who share the laneway between Kenwood Avenue and Wychwood Avenue began to grant permission to have their garages turned into ‘urban art’. Elly and Christine got to work.
Some of the art was created through stencils, some of the paintings were inspired by artists like Miro, Keith Haring and Mark Rothko, and some were original creations. Soon, the ‘urban art’ initiative started to gain momentum – with good weather on their side, Elly and Christine painted 21 garages in 21 days. Some of the residents had a ton of graffiti, and some had none at all – but everyone agreed that the art might be a great way to minimize future graffiti.
Now, with over 40 garages painted, the Kenwood/Wychwood laneway has become a living art gallery. The art has become a destination within the neighbourhood – there’s a noticeable increase in foot and bicycle traffic, making for a safer laneway. The initiative not only galvanized the street, but the laneway became a source of pride and has helped build a sense of community.
Elly and Christine continue their efforts, and hope to expand the initiative to other laneways in the community. They welcome anyone who would like to volunteer some time and help paint – no artistic experience is required!
Unfortunately, this urban art project does not qualify for municipal funding, as the garages are on private property – so donations of any amount to help cover the cost of materials are welcome. If you have any unwanted exterior paint, please consider donating it to the cause.
If you would like to have your garage door painted, to donate or to volunteer please contact us at: KENWOODLANEART AT GMAIL.COM
We’ve received some great media coverage:
KENWOOD LANE ART BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOS
Red Heart – Before
To view photos of the Kenwood Lane Art initiative, please visit: