Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Week 6 of Open Studio at the Sherbourne Health Centre

As we approach the last three weeks of open studio, I want to take a moment to share some thoughts.

Every aspect of the Sherbourne Health Centre Mosaic Project is and has been collaborative and community engaged. Not to be too flaky about it, but open studio is a magical space. People who may not encounter one another elsewhere, meet each other in the studio. Stories are shared. We are generous with one another. Many contributors come to think of themselves differently. Several have commented that they've never made art -- have never thought of themselves as having a capacity to be creative. Collaborative artistic practices that authentically welcome everyone provide a gateway into art making, and into the very many possibilities of intentional community.

Besides the importance of what happens in studio at a social level, we're making a large public artwork. The fact that the mosaic is a public artwork is significant, particularly because community narratives in public space is quite unusual. Advertising dominates much of our public space, particularly in large urban centres. Large corporations that can afford to buy public space, occupy it -- a lot of it. Our urban environment would be very different if community and neighbourhood narratives had a larger presence in our built environments.

Let's imagine that for a moment.

To those of you who are project contributors, thank you. We're doing an incredible thing. I'm proud and honoured to share this work with you.

-- Anna