The drive behind a new art show

Painted vehicles showcasing artwork launched in June

Wanna take a trip, man? Hop on the bus.

Keep your eyes peeled for a fleet of vehicles wrapped with psychedelic-like designs that will soon be cruising around the streets of Toronto.

It’s the brainchild of sister organizations Arts Etobicoke and Lakeshore Arts, two local non-profit community arts councils. The project, three years in the making, came to an end on June 14 with the launch of 14 painted vehicles.

The idea for Art on the Move came around four years ago when the two arts councils wanted to leverage limited resources and share some programs. Lakeshore Arts’ executive director Susan Nagy thought that if the groups had a bus, it would make things a lot easier.

Once they crunched the numbers, they realized they couldn’t afford it.

“So we thought, ‘what if we get other people’s wheels and work with them?’” said Nagy.

The groups paired professional artists with community groups to work on designing motifs for the privately donated vehicles. In doing so, the project exceeded their original goals and the community’s involvement gives the artwork a bigger impact according to Nagy.

“What we have on the road now are 14 moving canvasses and one boat.”

Groups included the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Toronto Public Library and the Stonegate Community Health Centre.

Users of the car-rental service AutoShare will now have the chance to drive one of these colourful vehicles designed by the children at Stonegate.

Children’s program manager Larissa Samborsky says she’s grateful for having participated in the Art on the Move initiative. It afforded the children in her program the opportunity to be exposed to different artistic mediums, as well as the opportunity to work under the guidance of a professional artist who could teach them techniques and terminology.

She noticed a big change in the children who participated.

“Their confidence levels went through the roof. At first you could hear lots of ‘I can’t do this,’ but by the end they were very proud of their work,” Samborsky said.

A group of 10 kids, from ages seven to 12 years old, participated, meeting once a week after school to design their AutoShare car.

Louise Garfield, the executive director of Arts Etobicoke, likes the element of surprise the vehicles add to city life.

“It’s not in an art gallery, it’s in the street and it’s moving,” she said. “You don’t know exactly where it’s going to show up.”

About this article:

By: Alexandra Bosanac
Posted: Jun 30 2011 5:30 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto