Respect Mural & Revive Celebration

In 2001, a city-wide consultation with groups of Sudbury youth identified two main issues for young people in our community. The youths’ response was: they wanted equal respect and be acknowledged and accepted in the public sphere. From the consultations, a core group was formed. With the guidance of professional artist Lori Bergh, they developed the concept for a mural on the theme of respect and they wanted it on public space. They negotiated with the city to paint the outdoor wall behind the downtown YMCA that faced a central park area. With lead muralist, Sady J. Ducros, they collectively designed the mural, organized the creation process, and involved over 40 youth in the painting. The unveiling was attended by the Mayor and city officials and received enthusiastic media and public response.

As the summer went on, the idea of having a youth revive celebration was put forth to honor the hard work and the dedication that was put into the project. The youth felt a need to share their experience and story with other youth in the city who had not participated in the collective mural. The core group decided to create a giant fire sculpture, along with a fire performance and an all-day youth art festival and punk show in the park. They organized a large celebration attended by hundreds of youth from all over the city. The day-long and evening event included stilt workshops, artist venues and music. Since the celebration took place in the middle of the hot, dry summer of 1991, a fire ban put off the burning of the sculpture until October, when a parade began through the streets of downtown. The youth again came together to parade through a downtown lit up by beautiful multi–coloured tissue paper lanterns. The parade ended at the mural site where the powerful, exciting and successful fire performance took place.

Please feel free to view some of the community photographs from the ‘Youth Respect’ project here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mythsandmirrors/sets/72157615697045459/