The Redistribution Program // Sudbury Street Arts
Sudbury Street Arts launched in October 2019 as a free, weekly arts drop-in for folks experiencing poverty, homelessness, and displacement. Gathering as community with mixed and shared experiences to share a meal and create a space of cultural production, gift giving, and knowledge exchange.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 disrupted these activities and left many without access to the supports and services necessary to meet their basic needs. In response, Sudbury Street Arts launched a summer Redistribution program that provided a light meal, hygiene products, art materials, camping gear, and other essential items to more than 40 folks each week in Memorial Park. Items were collected through a community call-out or purchased with funds donated to Sudbury Street Arts. With regular donations of fresh produce and baking, donations from local businesses (Watercrow Studio and The Nickel Refillery), and very successful fundraising ventures, we have been blown away by the community support received.
We’re currently in the process of creating a video piece documenting our summer program, featuring spoken word alongside interviews with community members. It is titled Ode to Memorial Park and is set for release this spring.
While Myths and Mirrors will continue to support folks experiencing poverty and homelessness in the downtown area through our outreach and programming, Sudbury Street Arts is no longer a Myths and Mirrors project, now operating as it’s own initiative delivering much needed supplies to unsheltered folks this winter. To learn more about Sudbury Street Arts and how you can help, contact Abbey via Instagram at @sudburystreetarts.
The Underground started in October 2019 as an emerging, grassroots art collective for young artists aged 14 and up. The goal of this program was to demystify art for young people by offering accessible, low barrier arts activities that encourage self-expression and celebration of their identities, stories, and experiences.
As part of our outreach for the program, we partnered with SACY (Sudbury Action Centre for Youth) to deliver a series of arts activities to their members. In February, we officially launched The Underground as a weekly arts drop-in space for youth at our Durham St. location. Unfortunately, this was short-lived because by mid-March all in-person programming was placed on hold due to Covid-19. While there are no current plans for The Underground, we will be aiming to build our youth programming in the coming year.
Mino-bimaadiziwin – The Good Life
A collaborative cross-organization effort was utilized to create this mural project titled Mino-bimaadizizwin – The Good Life. Located at Better Beginnings, Better Futures’ main site we were able to conduct online surveys and virtual conversations prior to completion; rather than our initial plan for deep community consultation this method was utilized when faced with the contingencies and implications of Covid-19.
Working with local artists Adrienne Assinewai and Raven Debassige, with additional support from Wallace Gillard, a mural inspired by traditional Woodland Art was created. The mural symbolizes Better Beginnings, Better Futures programming and connections within the community while depicting seven animals representing the Seven Grandfather Teachings.
The Circling Project
This project was a multi-program series created with the intention that it would inform the decisions and work that is being completed by Myths and Mirrors. By focusing on the needs of the community we serve we have worked towards achieving this goal; meeting our participants where they are at with what they need. During 2020 we were able to complete a variety of programming as part of The Circling Project including “The Deserving Project”, Virtual Eco-Art Workshop Series, You are the Commons – Gifts to the Earth, and She is Awakening – Emerging through Art + Sound.
“The Deserving Project”
In late January, we invited five participants from Sudbury Street Arts to participate in a book project to address the housing crisis. The group met bi-weekly and received an honorarium of $25 for each session they attended. We invited guest speakers from community partner organizations (Sudbury Community Legal Clinic, NISA) to facilitate discussions on tenant rights and mental health, and local photographer Stacey Lalande delivered a workshop on Smart-phone photography. Unfortunately, work on this project was halted due to Covid-19.
Virtual Eco-Art Workshop Series
Following a series of conversations with a small group of local artists and activists, we began work on a series of three gatherings centred on the climate crisis. These were planned to be in-person gatherings and would have brought a group of Toronto-based artists to Sudbury to explore the climate crisis as it relates to issues of Indigenous sovereignty and migrant rights. These plans became unfeasible with Covid-19 but the group was committed to adapting the project for a virtual space, leading to the development of You Are the Commons – Gifts to the Earth and She is Awakening – Emerging through Art + Sound.
You Are the Commons – Gifts to the Earth
In April, we partnered with Coalition for Livable Sudbury to deliver You Are the Commons – Gifts to the Earth. Between 18-27 people took part in this virtual visualization workshop lead by local artist Elyse Portal. Participants were invited to “dissolve some of our feelings of isolation with an imaginative journey to nature,” followed by an eco art-making activity in celebration of Earth Day.
She is Awakening – Emerging through Art + Sound
To follow up You Are the Commons – Gifts to the Earth, we once again partnered with Coalition for Livable Sudbury for She is Awakening – Emerging through Art + Sound. Lead by local artist Emilio Portal, this virtual collaborative project invited folks from all over to submit sound recordings from nature. In total, we received more than 60 submissions that were then weaved together to create the almost 30-minute soundscape titled She is Awakening.
This work was the basis for She is Awakening: Part 2, a 10-track album featuring seven local artists, poets, and musicians, including: Will Morin, Darlene, Kiyan Lautenschlager (World Peace), Polly Kultur, Emilie Carrey (Sparx), Daniel Aubin, and Antoine Tremblay Beaulieu.