My City's Still Breathing

City With ART

Session: City WithART
Friday, November 5, 2010
Location: Fort Garry Hotel

A city with art has the power to create social change. The contemporary, cultural experience of living in a city is as layered and multifaceted as the citizens that city embraces. This panel will explore projects that engage both community groups and artists. The combination of the community members’ experiences and voices and the expertise and creative expression of the artists, allow for the exploration of urban issues and ideas in an authentic and unique way. Specific interventions and interactive initiatives and the resulting impacts on communities and cultural organizations will be highlighted and examined.

Leah Decter
Leah Decter

Leah Decter presents at My City's Still Breathing

Photo by Leif Norman

Leah Decter Artist
Winnipeg, MB
City WITH ART Moderator Biography

Leah Decter

Based in Winnipeg, Leah Decter is an interdisciplinary artist working in installation, sculpture, video, photography, performance and socially engaged practices. She has exhibited widely in Canada including at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Grunt Gallery, Trinity Square Video and the Dunlop Art Gallery, and internationally in the US, UK, Australia and Europe. She has received numerous awards from municipal, provincial, national and private funding bodies and her work is held in the collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery and private collections in Canada, US and UK. Decter has undertaken socially engaged work, which includes large-scale community involved public art and intervention projects, in Vancouver, Toronto and Winnipeg.


4.9 mB

Dyan Marie presents at My City's Still Breathing

Photo by Leif Norman

Dyan Marie Interdisciplinary Artist
Toronto, Canada
Walk Here Biography

Dyan Marie

Toronto based artist Dyan Marie, AOCAD, MFA is the founder of Cold City Gallery, ARTATWORK, DIG IN and Bloor Magazine. She also co-founded C Magazine, Urban Surface, BIG ,and a number of community and art festivals. She is the director of her project space, Dupont / Dyan Marie Projects, a board member of Toronto’s Art for Public Places Committee, Centennial College Academic Advisory Committee and is the Bloordale BIA creative director. Urban leadership awards include: Canadian Urban Institute’s City Soul, Government of Canada’s Community Builders Award, the Ontario Provincial Government Good Citizen Award and the City of Toronto Clean and Beautiful Award.

Walk Here

Dyan Marie will discuss initiatives that foster walking as a mode of engaging urban issues. Through specific examples, with accompanying images, she will detail several projects describing the conditions, processes and partnerships that were involved.

Look Out: Look Here

A community-based photographic activity and exhibition for the Dupont/Bloor West community to use as a way express its concerns over the local murder of ten-year-old Holly Jones. It encouraged residents walk to rediscover the vitality and goodwill in their neighborhood. 250 disposable cameras were distributed to Holly's classmates, friends and neighbours, together with a general invitation to the community to participate and used photography as a way of looking in a focused way at the Dupont/Bloor West. The exhibition gave the opportunity to choose a favorite image from the 1400 photographs that were made in the neighbourhood and to actively place it within the exhibition.

On the Corner 

A project that invites viewers to stand on a corner and imagine that they are prostitutes as a way to open up and explore the issue of urban sex trade.

Walk Here

A concept to create an art-embedded walking system to help vitalize, green and connect neighbours and neighbourhoods. Various art projects and artworks were produced and inset into the walkway including primary students who contributed drawings that were laser cut in stainless steel, high school students helped transform refuse items into recycled-glass filled, cast elements and 16 professional artist contributed cast bronze reliefs. Additionally 100 international artists, from 40 countries donated tiles that were installed in a wall along the Walk Here path.

Vine People focus attention on troubled public space sites where help is needed. In a recent misadventure with poison ivy they broadcast, “Vine people are not terrorists”

“Experience Canada: Canadian Experience”

19 banners on Toronto’s Bloor Street and 3 billboards at the rural Ontario’s Tree Museum make up an effort that explores the idea of immigration being fostered by the allure of the imagined Canadian landscape. Silhouettes of inner city shop owners, posed in front of their storefronts, are in filled with forest and lake landscapes. These city/forest – forest/city exchange images are installed as billboards in pastoral and forest settings at The Tree Museum and as banners along Bloor Street in Toronto.

Bloor Magazine

A publication about Toronto’s inner city Bloor Street focused on art, small business and community.

A Mayor For Bloordale

An effort to have Mayoral candidates walk and discovered the Bloordale area of Bloor Street.

Partnerships, while sometimes contentious, are essential and have involved residents, businesses, artists, schools, services providers, politicians, community groups and others.


23.6 mB



Gus Rogerson presents at My City's Still Breathing

Photo by Leif Norman

Gus Rogerson Artistic Director, The 52nd Street Project
New York, USA
The 52nd Street Project: Better Than Baseball Biography

Gus Rogerson

Gus Rogerson is the artistic director of The 52nd Street Project, a not-for-profit theater company in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan that brings kids from the neighborhood together with adult theater professionals to create original theater and to establish long-term mentoring relationships. He has been a member of the New York theater community for more than 20 years. His acting credits include the original productions of Six Degrees of Separation, Face Value, and The Grey Zone, and the film In and Out, opposite Matt Dillon. His directing credits include the American premiere of David Harrower’s first play, Knives in Hens. He served as associate producer for the feature film Sunday, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

The 52nd Street Project: Better Than Baseball

“When I saw my ideas on stage and people were saying my words, it was so cool. To me, it was better than baseball.”

                -Dan Noonan, 52nd Street Project participant, age 12, 1990

The 52nd Street Project is a not-for-profit theater company in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan that brings kids from the neighborhood together with theater professionals to create original theater and to establish long-term mentoring relationships.

Most of the kids that we work with have been disenfranchised and marginalized: by the society at large, by the educational system, in their neighborhood, and even at times in their own homes. In response to this, we provide them with two fundamental things: a place to belong and a series of opportunities.

The opportunities come in the form of programs that allow them, over the course of seven to nine years and from their childhood through their adolescence, to create pieces of theater and other works of art, and to literally travel beyond their known world. In doing so, they acquire experiences that are completely their own, experiences built around the unique possibilities that each of their lives represents.

Gus Rogerson will talk about the work of the organization, how it has evolved, the ways in which it is effective and sustaining, and what we anticipate going forward.


18 mB

Tricia Wasney presents at My City's Still Breathing

Photo by Leif Norman

Tricia Wasney Public Art Manager, Winnipeg Arts Council
Winnipeg, MB
WITH ART: The Evolution of Collaboration Biography

Tricia Wasney

Tricia Wasney holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies and a Master of Landscape Architecture degree, both from the University of Manitoba. She has worked in Winnipeg’s art community for many years in various roles of administrator, juror, board member and artist/writer. In May 2002 she was hired to create a public art policy for the City of Winnipeg which was adopted by City Council in September 2003. In January 2004 she was appointed Manager-Public Art and now develops and oversees a steadily growing public art program that includes art commissions, artist residencies and community-based projects.

WITH ART: The Evolution of Collaboration

WITH ART is a program of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Public Art Program that matches artists of all disciplines with diverse communities. The name of the program is deliberate as the focus is on art created WITH rather than FOR or ABOUT the communities. Central to WITH ART is the principle that through the process of art-making communities can explore issues, ideas and identity. Participants are required to come to the process with no preconceived ideas about the final product so that the project can evolve through collaboration. Since 2006 the program has seen the development of a rap video and documentary exploring the immigrant experience of young people, a permanent sculptural work that expresses notions of home and place, a film about the Aboriginal housing crisis, a photography project with Eritrean single moms, and many more collaborations. Tricia Wasney, manager of the Public Art Program, will discuss the development and impact of projects completed and in process.

23 mB