In June 2014, Toronto will welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world as the City hosts World Pride. While the city as a whole will experience broad tourism and visitation, a central hub for the festivities and guest exploration remains: The Church-Wellesley Village. The Church-Wellesley Village is the historical home to Toronto’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. As a central point of events and social gathering, the Village will serve as a prominent representation of Toronto, making its appearance not only important, but an exciting opportunity for the coming together of community members to paint a renewed face on the neighbourhood. The Church Street Mural Project is aimed at invigorating the visual appeal of The Church-Wellesley Village by connecting public spaces with community organizations and visuals artists. A group of 11 artists has been selected to each interpret the history, culture, and community of the neighbourhood through a series of publicly-accessible murals in the area.
The Church Street Mural Project intends to serve two purposes:
The beautification of one of Toronto’s most iconic cultural neighbourhoods through the telling of its stories in art on the front of its buildings’ walls;
The creation of an artistic experience that will position the historic hub of Toronto’s LGBTQ community as the must-see open-air art gallery for the millions who will visit the city between now and the end of World Pride 2014.
The outcome will be the painting of 11 large-scale murals on Church Street between Gloucester Street and McGill Street with a multi-year maintenance and promotions program. Painting will start in July/August 2013, following Pride 2013, and will continue through October. 13 high calibre and gallery-represented artists were selected by a panel of art community leaders to execute a vision that was brought together over two weeks through many hours of collaboration and consultation with local and Canada-wide LGBTQ activists and historians, identified mainly through the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA).