Marc Garneau students start building the Project Love mosaic

Tristan R. Whiston, Emma Munro, Brigitte, and Scott Pearce
From left to right: Tristan R. Whiston, Emma Munro (educator and GSAC supervisor), Brigitte (student and GSAC president), and Scott Pearce (educator and GSAC supervisor)

Over the past couple months, we’ve been working with the Gender & Sexuality Alliance Club (GSAC) at Marc Garneau Collegiate in Toronto, to create the Project Love mosaic — an initiative to bring visibility to the needs of queer youth in the school.

Here’s an update of how things have been developing.

Our design

As a result of brainstorming with students, we’ve come up with this design:

A pair of hands making a heart shape is in the centre of the mosaic, surrounded by a circle, with rays of bright colours from queer and trans flags: red, pink, yellow, green, blue, and orange.

Students build

“The vibe in the room is pretty great when we are working,” explains Artistic co-Director Tristan R. Whiston.

“Scott, one of the teachers, plays music and everyone likes to tease him about his musical taste, but really his choices are pretty great. And with the music playing and the students chatting, there is a very relaxed feeling in the room.

“I am particularly struck by how into the mosaic work the young people are. Many love smashing tiles with a hammer and sorting them. One student spends her whole time quietly nipping tiles by herself, hood up, often with her back to the group. Nipping tiles is hard work and she keeps at it.

“There are two students who work together the whole time on everything — like one puts out the glue and then they choose the tiles one by one and take turns putting them in.

“When we began building the mosaic, there was a lot of learning about the materials and methods of working, and the work was so so. But, by week three of building, students were really taking ownership of the work and even sometimes asking if they could pull something up because they thought it could be better.”

The Project Love mosaic will be completed this month and we are looking forward to sharing the big reveal.