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Pillars of the (Regent Park) Community
Design by Christine Mangosing

Where some people saw a structural element, graphic designer Christine Mangosing saw a way to bring a little bit of Regent Park flavour into the lobby of the Daniels Spectrum.

The three pillars inside Daniels Spectrum’s east-facing floor-to-ceiling glass windows had gone unadorned since the building opened, and staff had long seen them as an opportunity in waiting—a blank canvas that could be used to make the lobby feel warmer and more welcoming, and encourage passersby to pop in and enjoy the space.

“We wanted to represent the diversity of Regent Park in a way that would also complement the many ways the space is used, from community events to special events,” said Seema Jethalal, Managing Director of Daniels Spectrum.

Christine Mangosing, principal creative and founder of CMANGO DESIGN, was selected to lead the project. She had worked previously with several members of Daniels Spectrum’s community including the Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture, ArtReach Toronto, and Manifesto, and is deeply engaged with the youth non-profit arts and culture community in Toronto.

Mangosing toured the Regent Park area to get a sense of the public spaces and diverse groups that make up the fabric of the community, and to learn about the invisible history – the places that aren’t physically there any more but live on in the community memory. A community consultation was also held where community members and representatives of the organizations in the building engaged with the designer, chatting about Regent Park’s past and present and looking at fabrics, patterns and murals from around the world for inspiration.

“There was a sense among everyone present that they wanted to make sure the people in the community were represented in where they came from, and a strong desire for that diversity be reflected in the design,” Mangosing explained.

The result is a vibrant piece titled Tela, a digital illustration on vinyl that wraps around each pillar. Mangosing’s full artist statement, describing the fascinating array of cultural and visual allusions in the design, is included below. The designer says she’s thrilled with the result, and that the positive response she’s gotten from people who participated in the community consultation has left her with a strong sense of satisfaction about the project.

According to Jethalal, since Tela was installed on March 2nd  the refreshed pillars have been met with enthusiasm and delight by the building’s tenants and community members alike. “When they first see the pillars, people love them aesthetically. And when they learn the stories behind each element of the design, it adds a whole new layer of meaning, and their reaction goes through the roof!”

Tela, 2015

Digital illustration on vinyl
Christine Mangosing (CMango Designs)

Woven textiles in many cultures serve as markers of identity, lineage, and environment, among others. Similarly, totem poles, for the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest, are commemorative monuments of history, ancestry and people. With these cultural objects, along with sentiments on the spirit of the “old” Regent Park (shared by residents of the neighbourhood and tenants of Daniels Spectrum) as inspiration, my goal was to interpret a visual “fabric” of the community— as an homage to its people and its past, and a reminder to visitors and new residents of what came before.

Nestled within a grid structure modeled after the map of Regent Park (from Gerard to Queen, Parliament to River), motifs inspired by traditional textiles, beadwork and architectural details native to the cultures from which past and current residents hail, intersect with lines and symbols representing elements of the area’s landscape and original architecture. Shapes recalling the grillwork in an Islamic Indian temple and the geometric forms of West African mud cloth sit alongside lines depicting the rows of bricks and windows in a Regent Park high-rise. Embroidery from a Bangladeshi quilt evokes the chain link fences bordering the ice rinks and basketball courts that served as social meeting points for the youth of the community. Rows of tiny “shells” inspired by Anishinaabek wampum belts, form the shapes of the iconic “dog-bones” and “barbells” of the low-rise buildings seen from above, while stylized flowers inspired by a Vietnamese floral motif reference the neighbourhood’s community gardens and the numerous trees that had once populated the “garden city.”

In the same way that traditional textiles tell the story of their makers’ surroundings, these familiar elements, abstracted and intertwined, aim to serve as a reflection of spaces once inhabited and honour the stories embedded within them.

Civic Trust Award for Daniels Spectrum

We are very pleased to announce that Daniels Spectrum has received another award, this time from the Civic Trust Awards based in London, UK. This award, recognizing Daniels Spectrum for community impact and engagement, was presented to Diamond Schmitt Architects, who designed the building, at a gala ceremony at the Globe Theatre in London on March 6, 2015. Artscape CEO Tim Jones was in attendance to receive the award on stage with our project partners at Diamond Schmitt Architects. We’re proud that Daniels Spectrum won one of only two awards given to projects outside of England in this competition! This award is hugely meaningful as it represents a win not just for the project partners involved but the whole Daniels Spectrum community in Regent Park.

Canadian Architect published the official press release from Diamond Schmitt Architects on March 10, 2015. It contains background information on the award and a link to our “making of Daniels Spectrum” video.

RUN AN EVENT, PROGRAM OR ART INSTALLATION IN REGENT PARK THIS SUMMER!
Photo by Lisa Logan

**Update**  Due to the very high volume of applications received, the selection process has taken longer than we expected. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application on March 31st instead of March 30, We apologize for any inconvenience.**Update**

Artscape is looking to partner with six to eight organizations or individuals to deliver free, outdoor arts & cultural programs, events and/or installations in Regent Park this June through August. We invite you to read this call and submit an application by THURSDAY MARCH 19TH AT 12:00PM to become part of an initiative that aims to bring life to the streets of Regent Park, engage and inspire youth and families and provide meaningful training and employment opportunities.

Successful applicants will:

  • Receive a minimum of $2,000 and an average of $6,000 funding to run their initiative
  • Receive some in-kind staffing and equipment from Artscape
  • Benefit from capacity-building workshops in event management, and marketing and promotions
  • Receive supplementary marketing and promotional support as part of the overall Summer Series initiative
  • Become a part of a growing initiative that engages and inspires Regent Park residents through free outdoor arts and cultural programming

The Summer Series at Daniels Spectrum launched two years ago thanks to a donation by anonymous donors to the Artscape Foundation. This donation has allowed Artscape to support and partner with several community partners to produce free outdoor summer programming, events and installations in Regent Park, the majority of which is targeted at youth. Examples of funded initiatives have included outdoor film screenings, drop-in dance and drama programs, interactive street art installations, outdoor concerts, weekly community block parties and much more. This year, Artscape is looking for community partners to animate the public spaces in and around Daniels Spectrum (with an emphasis on programming on Regent Park Boulevard), in the midst of the third and largest phase of the Regent Park revitalization.

HOW TO APPLY

Please submit one copy of the completed application to Outreach & Programs Coordinator, Lisa Smart via email (lisas@torontoartscape.on.ca). You can also mail or drop off your application to:

Daniels Spectrum
585 Dundas Street East
Suite 260 (Artscape Office, 2nd Floor)
Toronto, ON, M5A 4N8

NEED TO KNOW MORE?

Please review the Daniels Spectrum Summer Series FAQ for additional information or call  Lisa Smart at (416) 238-2453 x105.

You’re Not Here – An Exciting New Exhibition of Feminist Art Comes to Daniels Spectrum

For the month of March, Daniels Spectrum partners with the Feminist Art Conference (FAC) to present You’re Not Here, a celebration of feminist art in honor of International Women’s Day.

Through their works, participating artists capture their own struggle to find a home in new contexts. They strive to ignite the memory of missing, murdered, and neglected women, including trans women, transfeminine person, and gender nonconforming individuals. In doing so, the artists construct their own narratives and identities, reinserting women’s stories back into art history and contemporary consciousness.

Over twenty-five local artists will present a range of media, including painting, photography, video and performance.You’re Not Here runs from March 3rd to March 31st , kicking off with a launch party on Tuesday, March 3rd from 7 pm to 10 pm.. The launch is Pay What You Can with all proceeds going to support the FAC 2015 conference and exhibition to be held at OCADU September 24th to 27th.

Participating artists:

Agnieszka Foltyn

Anne O’Callaghan

Carol Mark

Carrie Perrault

Dorota Dziong

Fiya Bruxa

Giselle Noelle Morgan

Helene Vosters

Ilene Sova

Jennifer Hollett

Kathleen Reichelt

Kaythi Rossmann

Lara Pocock

Lido Pimienta

Madeleine Black

Maureen Da Silva

Onyeka Igwe

Rakhi Mutta

Raushan Bhuiyan

Rosamund King

Shahrzad Arshadi

Shelby Lisk

Soraya Torres

Wensi Li

 

 

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