I HeART Main Street mural campaign adding beauty to Whitby’s downtown

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Published September 17, 2021 at 9:06 am

The I HeART Main Street mural campaign brightened up 26 GTA downtowns this year, including the Town of Whitby, to support main street recovery strategies as we phase (eventually) into a post-COVID world.

The campaign, part of STEPS, a not-for-profit that has created one-of-a-kind public art across the country for a decade, aims to “forge new partnerships, create paid opportunities for artists and amplify the role arts and culture can play in Ontario’s community recovery process” – not to mention adding beauty and fun to our urban landscapes.

The projects, which are funded through Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) in partnership with the Royal Bank, demonstrate how small-scale activations can foster impactful changes for businesses and arts communities while promoting community resilience and well-being, said Madeline Riley of the Downtown Whitby BIA. “Our alleyways boast a ton of potential but are not being put to use. With an increase in demand for outdoor patios, we’re reimagining these spaces … to make the area more welcoming,”

More than 50 artists were employed during the campaign, including Ontario College of Art grad Chris Perez (2012), who created much of art in the downtown Whitby mural project.

Erin McCluskey, one of the artists behind Port Credit’s award-winning 2020 Main Street Art Challenge, said the program highlights what artists do for society.

“They inspire excitement, bring happiness and encourage people to look at their community in a different way.”

For information on the program, participating BIAs and artists throughout the campaign, visit iheartmainstreet.ca and follow @STEPSpublicart and #MainStreetArtChallenge to experience these projects through the end of this month..

I HeART Main Street campaign is presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and the City of Toronto, and generously supported by the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative funded by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture through Ontario Reconnect.

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