I am at a stage in my life in which I am finding answers to these questions and the Neighbourhood Arts 150 project is playing an important part in this personal discovery.
I became a community Arts-Based Facilitator four years ago and since then, through volunteering or having been hired by institutions, I have witnessed the power of the arts in individuals and communities.
In January this year I was awarded a grant from AOE Arts Council to create a community mural for the Hunt Club – Riverside Community Centre. I am humbled by what I consider to be a huge recognition for my previous work and one that provides an answer to some of my questions. I think that this grant also represents a gift for my neighbourhood since my project consists on the creation of a community mural entitled “Canadian Pride, Harmony in Cultures” for the Hunt Club – Riverside Community Centre, painted by members of our diverse and eager-to-express community.
The idea of the creation of the “Canadian Pride, Harmony in Cultures” mural is to celebrate our multicultural community and express our gratitude to Canada as the country where we live in peace and where our kids grow up safe and with countless opportunities. This mural will represent our participation as community in the Canada 150 celebrations.
Since the conception of the project I thought about bringing community together and my dream is coming through: we have had community brainstorm sessions with participation of seniors, adults and teenagers and a great number of painting sessions with women and youth. We have still many more painting sessions to complete the mural in time for its unveiling in September. Our mural will be comprised of independent pieces that represent the countries and areas of the world from where our multicultural community comes. It will also represent Canada’s First Nations and Canadian culture and landscape.
The creation of this mural for Hunt Club – Riverside is a gift for our neighbourhood. It is bringing a sense of belonging, empowerment and community-building to our neighbourhood and when installed on the exterior of our Community Centre, it will provide colour and vibrancy to an area of the city where art and opportunities for expression are badly needed.
Thanks to Neighbourhood Arts 150 Project I am able to create a big community mural in my own neighbourhood and to confirm to myself that being a community arts based facilitator is definitely one of my most important missions in life as an a artist and as human being.
Claudia Salguero, July 2017