From its conception, LandMark was designed to have 3 main components: a community engagement element, a citizen design lab and photo-stories. The citizen design lab was originally imagined to be an interactive city-building space where participants could build and rebuild the city throughout the night, highlighting that city-building is never done by one person alone.
As LandMark grew as a project, we knew that strengthening our community partnerships meant collaborating with different organizations so when the opportunity to collaborate with Institute Without Boundaries arose, we knew we had to embrace the opportunity.
We met with the new incoming students in early September to share the initial concepts but really to create the container for a LandMark citizen design lab that would take on a new spin. We didn’t want to dictate what the students could or could not do, that would defeat the purpose of the collaboration. We shared the same creative brief with the students that our photographers worked with and knew that the openness might be daunting at first, but it offered a lot of opportunity for creativity and originality.
The IwB class is a small group of about 10-12 students. In an afternoon of brainstorming and ideation, they came up with two ideas that eventually became the Gazebo Confessionals and a Fondest Memories Wall. Both installations offered visitors a way to interact with LandMark either by individually sharing a story on the Memory Wall or connect with a stranger or several.
A HUGE thanks to the students of IwB who toughed it out for LandMark and really helped us animate St. James Park in an exciting way.
It is hard to believe that a little less than a month ago, we stayed up all night in St. James Park for LandMark. This project was an unbelievable triumph of community partnerships and stories.
In February, we submitted a proposal for a Scotiabank Nuit Blanche independent project following a few conversations with the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood BIA. The idea for LandMark was born out of a goal to capture stories and bridge together different community organizations from the neighbourhood to complete one goal.
We specifically chose St. James Park as the site for our proposal, as it is a site rich with history and controversy. It is well known as the site of the Occupy Toronto protest and demonstration in 2011, the site of the St. James Cathedral which is the first church in the city of York and where you can still take bell-ringing classes, and now it is home to Music in the St. James Park where you can enjoy free concerts in the park on Thursdays throughout the summer. We knew this was a park of many layers and it was those layers that inspired the theme of LandMark.
To uncover the city, layer by layer.
This theme alongside the curatorial mission to capture the stories of everyday heroes, LandMark emerged as a one-time event that can only be created by these partners at this time.
What is remarkable about this project, is that each of the partners were like a moving piece of well-oiled machine, without each other, this project would never have come to life in the way that it did. Much like a community, we are a series of individual pieces that can operate separately, but collectively can accomplish larger goals without taking on the entire workload individually.
It is our goal to take what we have learned from LandMark and put it into longer and continuous community partnership projects in the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood and strengthen the foundation that has been built.
LandMark was a month-long community engagement project that Exhibit Change ran in partnership with the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood BIA.
Involving over 40 partnerships is make it a reality, one of the key elements of the project was the matching of our team of photographers with local organizations in order to highlight how these community projects are helping to make Toronto a great city to live in.
We interviewed Product Magazine photographer Tara Noelle about her experience in photographing the volunteers at Young People’s Theatre.
What’s your background and why photography?
I am a local based portrait photographer who studied Fine Arts and Film Photography at OCADU. I stepped away from mix media art work to focus more solely on photography as a medium and career.
I enjoy that a great photo can suggest many emotions regardless of their subject, in a way suggesting everything while revealing nothing. Why photography? I could be here forever… there are so many why’s, so why not?
Tell us about what inspired you after meeting up with your community partner?
Where to begin? While exploring the space, I was impressed by the quality of the in-house custom designers, and who could forget the story about how the large stage is supposedly haunted? However, what soon became clear to me was that the strength of Young People’s Theatre is truly the young teenage volunteers who bring YPT to life.
What was the concept that guided the creation of your Scotiabank Nuit Blanche photo essay?
I wanted to try convey as much as possible about the people behind the scenes of YPT in one photo but still keep my minimalist portrait style in mind.
Connect with Tara: taranoelle.ca | Facebook: Tara Noelle Photography | Twitter:@taranoellephoto | Instagram: @taranoellephoto
We all know them. We pass by them everyday. They are the people who make the little things happen and it is a thankless job.
For our Scotiabank Nuit Blanche exhibit, Landmark; our goal is to capture the stories of everyday heroes.
We usually think of Landmarks as the buildings, monuments or public spaces that have been named after a famous person, we are flipping the idea of Landmark on its head and going after the people that work tirelessly to keep this city running.
There is a story I have heard time and time again that is the quintessential story of ownership. A caretaker at NASA was noticed working late into the night and when asked why he was there working so hard, he responded “Because I am helping put a man on the moon.” It is this dedication that often goes unnoticed and why we are so proud of the stories we will be able to share.
We are proud to be working with 11 community organizations to showcase their stories through photography essays.
These organizations will be sharing their everyday heroes with us!
- Young People’s Theatre
- Enoch Turner Schoolhouse & Parliament Interpretive Centre
- C’est What
- 1812 Re-enactors
- Market Vendor
- Toronto Tool Library
- Crisis Centre for Mental Health
- St. James Cathedral
- First Post Office
- King Edward Hotel
We can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Here are some of our heroes: