Promise In The Park

Promise in the Park is a multi-year community-engaged arts project that cross-pollinated and grew the unknown or unacknowledged cultural riches in downtown Toronto’s Winchester Park and St. James Town neighbourhoods, and catalyzed new social connections while creating public artworks.

Mosaic mural of a swarm of red, black, white and yellow birds in flight
Hatch – Winchester Public School mural

Promise in the Park emerged out of an artistic residency with Diane Frankling Co-operative Housing that produced many ripples including the creation of several large permanent artworks, as well as the genesis of RDP in 2005.

During the first three years of conceptual development, RDP facilitated arts-based and oral history research in the community including 150 mobile collaborative art making workshops in local schools, community groups, and community organizations. We explored experiences in this neighbourhood through the lens of personal stories, as well as the vernal equinox using a related oeuvre of spring myths and folklore brought to the process by participants. Five over-arching themes emerged: lost and found; here and there; danger and safety; inside and outside; and transformation. With more than 600 community participants, we made three ceramic and glass mosaic installations and one in situ stone mosaic that explores these themes.

In our final year, we shifted our focus to script development for the creation of a community performance through creative writing, music, movement, improvisation, and hand-stitching and textile art workshops. Produced in June 2017, Drift Seeds was an epic finale with a cast of 100+, more than a dozen community partners, and  300+ workshops, rehearsals, and open studios over nearly four years.


Mosaic Installations

Birds of a Feather mosaic
View Birds of a Feather images on Flickr

Birds of a Feather 

Ernescliffe Co-op

477 Sherbourne Street
Toronto, Ontario
Tile mosaics, 2015

Cornerstone mosaic
View Cornerstone images on Flickr

Cornerstone

Winchester Square Park

474 Ontario Street
Toronto, Ontario
8 foot diameter, 2015

Flightpath mosaics
View Flightpath images on Flickr

Flightpath

Hugh Garner Housing Co-op

550 Ontario Street
Toronto, Ontario
Tile mosaics, 2015

Hatch mosaic
View Hatch images on Flickr

Hatch

Winchester Public School

15 Prospect Street
Toronto, Ontario
Tile mosaics, 2015


Community Partners: Diane Frankling Housing Co-operative, The Rekai Centres, E Fry Toronto, Winchester Public School, Dixon Hall, Supporting Our Youth, Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, Ernescliffe Housing Co-op, Hugh Garner Housing Co-op, St James Town Community Corner, Fieldstone Co-op, Art City, Yonge Street Mission St James Town, City of Toronto Parks, Forestry, and Recreation, and the Toronto District School Board.

Artistic Partners: Jumblies Theatre, Kaeja d’Dance, Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio, Puppetmongers Theatre, and Art City.

Funding Partners: Ontario Trillium Foundation, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training, and Service Canada.