Countdown Public Art Legacy Project

Honouring survivors of gender-based violence

The Countdown Public Art Project is a province-wide initiative that creates outdoor monuments in public spaces to honour survivors of gender based violence and to imagine, or count down to, a world without gender-based violence. 

“Countdown” is produced and led by Red Dress Productions with local leadership and community and civic partners, and the support of project advisor Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County.

In 2021, we were proud to partner with Maggie’s Resource Centre in North Hastings and Lanark County Interval House and Community Support in Lanark County for the collaborative creation of two public artworks that were installed in Almonte and Bancroft.

These two Countdown monuments succeeded eight others created with communities in Pembroke, Eganville, Killaloe, Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, Peterborough-Nogojiwanong, North Bay, Carleton Place and Brantford since 2016. In 2022, two more monuments will be created, bringing the Countdown project count up to 12! More info coming soon.

We gratefully acknowledge project funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, operating funding from the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council, and additional support from EVA-Renfrew County, without which this work would not be possible.

View video highlights and monument locations

Recent Monuments


2021 Countdown Unveilings promo banner

Bancroft/North Hastings

Local Partner: Tamarack/Maggie’s Resource Centre

Tamarack/Maggie’s Resource Centre was originally formed in response to the closure of the Madawaska Mines in the early 1980’s. Maggie’s evolved over time and as of 2011, continues to operate as a not-for-profit agency, with a volunteer, all female Board of Director’s. The team of women working within the walls of Maggie’s Resource Centre and the Tamarack Program continue to dedicate themselves to serving women (and children) in North Hastings. Services offered include Crisis Intervention, Safety Planning, Transitional Housing Support, Counselling, Safe Placement and transportation for women and their children leaving abusive relationships, Advocacy, and Referrals to health, legal and income support resource centres and advocacy with legal and social services.

Site Coordinator: Donna Reid – Women’s Support Worker at Tamarack/Maggie’s Resource Centre

Donna Reid has gained an abundance of experience working with diverse populations over the past twenty years. Returning to college as a mature student she obtained a diploma in Addictions Counselling and Social Service Work. Her career has included work at a treatment facility for women with problem drug and alcohol use, a mobile crisis team and a woman’s shelter for domestic violence. She worked as the Family Matters coordinator for the Edmonton Mental Health Clinic in Alberta, successfully creating a support group for families with loved ones experiencing mental health and addiction issues. Helping women heal is her passion.

Community Art Ambassadors: Jacqueline Lopez & Holly McMurray

After graduating from OCAD’s Interdisciplinary Arts Program, Jacqueline Lopez became a founding member of Blackbird Design Collective, a worker co-op dedicated to the visual communication needs of the social change, non-profit and arts sectors. She moved to Maynooth Ontario in 1996 to raise her daughter and pursue her off grid homesteading dream. Since then, she has worn many hats; graphic designer, horse rescue farm manager, community theatre producer, visual artist, rural arts advocate and nerd forager. She believes strongly in the community building and healing potential of The Countdown Public Art Project and is excited to be part of the North Hastings journey.

Holly McMurray lives in Bancroft with her husband, Ron, her son, Dylan and her daughter, Deidre. After working in the Music Industry in Toronto and Parks Canada in Algonquin Park, Holly returned to North Hastings. She worked at the Bancroft Campus of Loyalist College for twenty six years and enjoyed assisting people with career and educational goals. She had actively volunteered on various boards and committees (youth, humanitarian, sports & live theatre) in the community until a motor vehicle accident changed her life. She has maintained a positive personality with assistance from her supportive family and the amazing people and programs at Tamarack/Maggie’s. She is very pleased that Bancroft has been chosen as the next site for a pebble mosaic monument to honour survivors.

Community Partners

Partners include: the Town of Bancroft, Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin First Nation, Algonquin Arts Council, North Hastings Community Trust, North Hastings Children’s Services, the Youth Advisory Board, Algonquin Inòdewiziwin Child and Family Centre, the Community Corridor of Inclusion and Resilience project, and North Hastings Community Integration Association.

Almonte/Mississippi Mills

Local Partner: Lanark County Interval House and Community Support (LCIHCS)

Lanark County Interval House and Community Support (LCIHCS) is the only dedicated anti-violence agency in Lanark County. For 42 years +, the agency has supported victims of all forms of violence via our 24/7 crisis line support, our emergency shelter, our second stage shelter and our diverse community-based counselling, group and advocacy programs and services. LCIHCS is active politically locally and provincially. The agency is creative in our approach and has pursued and has been engaged in several partnerships with community-based roots in education, honouring and awareness. We unveiled our first pebble mosaic with Red Dress Productions in 2019 and we are grateful to be active in working on our second, with a planned location in Almonte Ontario. Most recently, we partnered with the OPP and launched the first victim advocate position of its kind rooted in the agency while working alongside police to improve victim outcomes and experience.

Site Coordinators:
Erin Lee – LCIHCS Executive Director
Brianne Luckasavitch – LCIHCS Victim Advocate & Public Education Coordinator

Erin Lee is an experienced, passionate advocate who has spent decades working to end violence against women. Her work spans anti-violence programs, school board initiatives, provincial associations, and anti-oppression anti-racism provincial trainings. She is a founding member of the See It Name It Change It campaign, and a past member of numerous boards and committees including OAITH, and the Assaulted Women’s Helpline. Currently Erin is the Executive Director of Lanark County Interval House, chair of the Planning Collaborative, Community Issues Committee, recent recipient of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario social activism award, member of the Victimology Program Advisory of Algonquin College and a lead on the rural forums work.

Brianne has been privileged to be working as anti-violence worker for Lanark County Interval House & Community Support for over 11 years.  Her experience ranges from presenting on the barriers faced by women & children who are impacted by violence to working alongside survivors of violence ensuring that they have the support, information and resources that they need to navigate their options. As the first Lanark County Victim Advocate, Brianne continues to work alongside Lanark County OPP offering victims of sexual assault, domestic violence & human trafficking a place to be heard, supported and connected to our local resources.  After working with many survivors over the years, Brianne recognizes that violence can touch any person at any time and as a mother of a young daughter, it drives her to work even harder to ensure that Lanark County is a safe place for ALL those who call it home.

Community Art Ambassador: Emma Kinsman

Emma Kinsman is the Social Media and Promotions Specialist at Lanark County Interval House and Community Supports. She is passionate about feminism, amplifying women’s voices and ending domestic violence. Emma has a background in Public Relations and Social Media and is excited to apply those skills and her creativity to the Countdown Project!

Community Partners

Partners include: the Town of Mississippi Mills, Almonte & District Horticultural Society, and The Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Advisory Committee – Lanark County.

Reflections from Countdown participants

Transcript of reflections

— We’d been dreaming about doing something that brings the idea of sexual violence into the light of day. This opens a conversation in a different way about resiliency, about surviving, about moving forward — sheer numbers.

— We’re talking about the first-ever monument to honour survivors of sexual violence in the little town of Eganville.

— We’re using pebbles or stone as our permanent monument. The elders always tell us that stones are the oldest people on planet earth. They’re our storytellers, they’re our archivists. We can’t, I don’t think, underestimate the grounding-ness of stones.

— It appears massive, but is made up of small, sort of, moving parts — which, I think, aptly describes life.

— What do I see in it? Uh, like, when a drop of water falls and hits the water and creates a series of rings.

— That’s very much what happens, I think, with people who have experienced sexual violence – is that it makes an impact — there is an interruption, an impact on the way you view the world after something like that has happened.

— I felt all through this that it’s been something that I would like to — and I talked to different people, the care, the carrying, I guess, of this — not allowing the what came out of the creation of this or what was evoked from this, to just let it dissipate.

— This has given people a chance to talk about — ah — um — subjects that are, um, hidden and a chance to express themselves in ways that perhaps they hadn’t thought they could before, so it’s wonderful.

— Society is starting to take a stand in starting to stand up against violence against women, so the more awareness we can bring to it, the better.

— Hopefully the project is just the beginning, and I think is just going to be a snowball effect and we’ll see more and more communities take a part in that and having a visual reminder that sexual violence happens, and you know, we’re not going to remain silent any more.


“I Carry”: A video poem by Countdown participants from Brantford, Ontario

Transcript of video poem
[WOMAN SINGING OVER RUNNING RIVER]

— I carry
— I carry
— I carry
— I carry
— I carry gloves in my pockets to warm my hands, hands that reach out in warmth and welcome
— I carry my watch with me to remind me that my time is now
— I carry a key from a house that no longer exists
— I carry the weight of the world
— I carry growth, strength, peacefulness, glee
— I carry determination, whimsy, and delight
— I carry burs, brambles, memories that stick
— I carry a winding river

[WOMAN SINGS]
Lights, lights awaken…

— I carry whispers, stories, histories — I carry songs of heart, I carry truth of vision, hope for future
— Hope for shifts, tidal waves, avalanches
— I carry anger that stops me and anger that moves me forward
— I carry drum, feathers, humour
— I carry the work of believing in change
— I carry heaviness
— I carry stones
— Lightness
— I carry memories of myself…
— I carry soil
— …before and after the flood
— I carry fire
— I let go of the lost years
— I let go of all the lost years

[WOMEN’S VOICES]
— I carry memory, stones, sand, river, and heart
— I carry a winding river

[WOMAN SINGS]
When the lights, the moon and the stars, the nights and the lights and the moon and the stars, where eagles fly the sky

— I carry a vehicle for ancestors
— I carry for my ancestors thoughts of resilience and love
— I carry my ancestors and my ancestors carry me
— Past, present, future, we are one, sending our love and solidarity
— I carry my ancestors. I carry the power of their songs. I carry purpose and hope. And I carry compassion, strength for me, for you, and all the earth.

Countdown Team


Anna Camilleri – Lead Artist

Anna Camilleri has been working with performance, image, and text for 25 years. Her inquiries span socially engaged practices, narrative, materiality, and the public imaginary. Her books have been recognized with distinctions from the LAMBDA Literary Foundation, the Association of Independent Publishers, the American Library of Congress, and are part of the University of Toronto’s Fisher Rare Books Library Queer Canadian Literature Collection. She is co-artistic director of Red Dress Productions.

Tristan R. Whiston – Lead Artist

Tristan R. Whiston is a Toronto-based theatre director, dramaturge, writer, performer, audio and community artist. He has written and directed five audio documentaries for CBC, including Middle C, which won the 2007 Premios Ondas Award for International Radio. Tristan’s film pINCO Triangle was honoured with three 2018 Queer North Awards, including Best Canadian Film. He is co-artistic director of Red Dress Productions.

Katie Yealland – Production Lead

For 20 years, Katie Yealland has worked in the commercial film industry primarily as a grip (film technician), and since 2010, Katie has worked with Red Dress Productions in various roles including community artist, live video animation, and production lead.

Roberta Della-Picca – Associate Lead Artist

Roberta epitomizes that wise adage, “to serve one’s people, there could be no greater honour”. A warm, sensitive, socially-conscious member of the community, she has dedicated her passion, devotion and commitment to the expressive arts for health and wellness, and community engagement, as an artist, workshop and manual designer and co-facilitator.  She has shown herself to be a powerful force for positive change, helping to make communities more vibrant, safer and even more wonderful places to live, work and co-exist. 

Andy Trull – Associate Lead Artist

Andy is Co-Artistic Director of the Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio, weaving creative arts into the life of rural community. His artistic practice combines poetry, woodwork, and land-based arts. He has a PhD from Concordia University in the Philosophy and Poetics of Participation and lives in Killaloe, Ontario with his partner Kathy amongst their hand-made buildings and gardens. 

Wy Joung Kou – Associate Artist & Communications

Wy Joung Kou is a Toronto-based multi-disciplinary artist with a practice rooted in frameworks of disability justice. Their body of work spans mosaic, poetry, sound, movement, performance, video, and installation. Wy-J is the Associate Artistic Director of ReDefine Arts, a performing member of Raging Asian Womxn Taiko Drummers, the inaugural winner of a JRG Grant for Artists with Disabilities (2018), and an ILGBT Artist Residency alum. 

Margo Charlton – Evaluation Consultant

Margo’s work in the arts spans over three decades, most recently, as a program and research manager at Toronto Arts Council/Toronto Arts Foundation. Projects include: a public survey about arts engagement; tool kit on arts accessibility in parks; and SSHRC-funded study of the impact of the arts on Toronto neighbourhoods. In Winnipeg, Margo founded a community-based theatre. This work connected her to community activists and popular theatre practitioners in Brazil, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama and across Canada. As a consultant, she conducts program evaluations and strategic plans for arts and culture organizations and arts funders. Margo believes that the arts are an essential part of personal and community development.

Tariq Sami – Graphic Designer

Tariq Sami is a Designer and Illustrator who has focused on creating innovative art and design strategies for arts and not-for-profit organizations. His client engagement has consisted almost entirely of community-based organizations which operate under principles of equity and social justice. As an experienced project manager he has coordinated large-scale projects from initial concept development, identity branding, art direction, and to the final stages of print, production and publication.

Locations


Almonte Old Town Hall

14 Bridge Street
Almonte, Ontario
6-foot diameter, 2021

Brantford mosaic

Brantford & District Labour Centre

1100 Clarence Street South
Brantford, Ontario
6-foot diameter, 2019

Centennial Park mosaic

Centennial Park

1T0
Eganville, Ontario
10 x 20 feet, 2016

Fisher Street Parkette

Fisher Street
North Bay, Ontario
6-foot diameter, 2019

Millennium Park

166 Hastings Street North
Bancroft, Ontario
6-foot diameter, 2021

Millenium Park

130 King Street
Peterborough, Ontario
6-foot diameter, 2019

Pikwàkanagàn First Nation mosaic

Minopimàdiz-i Gamik

Pikwàkanagàn First Nation
1643 Mishomis Inamo
Golden Lake, Ontario
4 x 3 feet, 2016

Station Park mosaic

Station Park

Queen Street
Killaloe, Ontario
4 x 3 feet, 2016

Lanark County mosaic

Town Hall Square Park

15 Mill Street
Carleton Place, Ontario
6-foot diameter, 2019

Handful of pebbles

Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County

Address unlisted
4 x 3 feet, 2016


Photos

View Countdown images on Flickr

Videos

Watch Countdown videos on Vimeo

Funders: Ontario Trillium Foundation, Government of Ontario, EVA–Renfrew County, Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council.