Transforming parks in low-income neighbourhoods with the people who live there.
MABELLEarts is an award winning community arts organization in Central Etobicoke. Since 2007, MABELLEarts has worked with over 70 professional artists and over 3000 Etobicoke residents of all ages and backgrounds to create free performances, workshops and community events in parks and public spaces.
What They Do
Produce new works of art and transform public spaces.
Uncover and present stories, themes and imagery of public spaces, inspired by the people and cultures found there.
Bring together artists, elders, writers, designers, meal-makers, seed planters, architects, performers, carpenters and others from across Etobicoke and beyond
Create opportunities for neighbours to explore and develop their creativity and civic engagement through ongoing workshops, events and paid employment.
Welcome those who are most likely to be left out by offering free activities, food, childcare, transportation and translation.
Offer opportunities to explore and develop artistic practices in a community context under the guidance of skilled artists.
Inspire a sense of connection to their creativity, each other, and the places they call home, through the creation of artwork, ceremonies and celebrations that revel in the beauty of the everyday.
MABELLEarts is building bridges between groups that may not otherwise have the chance to meet, or they are longing to do so and require support. They are animating and creating parks and public spaces to become fertile gathering places where these groups can come together and build understanding across real and perceived differences. Their work seeks to spark and support projects in Central Etobicoke and across Canada that utilize (or seek to utilize) arts and culture in public spaces as a mechanism for Canadians to build intercultural understanding, foster citizenship and build an integrated, socially cohesive society.
How They Do It
Beginning with individual stories, memories, personal histories, neighbourhood geographies and cultural identities and traditions, Mabelle artists work with community members of all ages and backgrounds to create work in a variety of disciplines including textile, environmental and research-based visual art, site-specific performance and public art. As their relationships with and connection to community members deepens, the artworks they're co-creating are indelibly imprinted with the memories and experiences they are building together. They begin to co-create visual archetypes, a performance vocabulary and overall themes that are neighbourhood-specific and reflect relationship and collaborative creation. At the same time, this material makes its way into the landscape in the form of physical elements - both lasting and transient.
MABELLEarts is driven by their love of people and fascination with neglected and forgotten places. They make art and build environments that foster community regeneration and invention. They cultivate long-term relationships that reveal the transformative possibilities within each unique site, neighbourhood and community. They celebrate cultural traditions, differences and points of connection that help spark collaboration as a creative force for change. They reframe existing social and environmental conditions to make space for new ways of being together.See more