Over the fall months, we will be creating a mosaic with high school students that welcomes and celebrates students of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
Emma Munro and Scott Pearce, supervisors of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto, created the Project Love initiative to bring visibility to the needs of queer youth in the school.
Last year the club won a $5,000 youth engagement grant from Rosedale United Church, which will be used for Project Love outreach programs, art projects, and events.
“We know that homophobia, transphobia and transmisogyny can be a big problem at some Toronto District School Board schools. Students who identify as queer or trans often don’t feel welcome in their learning environments — and the goal of Project Love is to change that from the grassroots level,” explains Emma Munro.
Red Dress will be working with students ages 14–18 to collaborate on a mural mosaic that speaks to these issues over the next six weeks.
“With young people that age, we often find starting with some fun art-making activities is a good place as an ice breaker,” says Artistic Co-Director, Tristan R. Whiston on what students can expect working on this project.
“We will do some brainstorming in small groups around certain prompts, which might be something like: ‘If you were walking past or into the school and you saw this mosaic, what about it would make you feel welcome?’ Other prompts may be: ‘What makes you feel safe as LGBTQ in this school?’ Or perhaps, ‘What makes you feel unsafe in this school?’
“From these brainstorming [sessions], we might then ask how do we represent those ideas visually, getting participants to brainstorm metaphors of visual images and then draw or sketch their ideas.”
Marc Garneau Collegiate is located in the Flemingdon Park neighbourhood of North York.