When Samara Shuter was approached to design our hoarding at Empire Maverick — one of our newest condo developments in Toronto — she rose to the challenge and created a work of art. Vibrant, bold and sophisticated, her designs reflect the spirited nature of those who have and continue to call King Street home. Reflecting on the mural-making experience, Samara explains that she had never done a project like this before. “When I was approached by Empire, I didn’t really know what to think or how to approach the project as a whole,” says Samara. “They have been so incredible to work with and they’re so supportive of local artists in Toronto. I was just so glad that I was able to work with the company.”Alongside many other talented Toronto artists, Samara has and continues to shape our city, and brings communities closer together one artwork at a time.
The streets of Toronto simply wouldn’t be the same if public art didn’t exist. You wouldn’t be able to find inspiration at every corner, instagramable backdrops to enjoy or historical reminders of days gone by. If you wanted to appreciate any one of these moments, you’d have to travel to a museum or gallery where the experience just isn’t the same. The reality is that public art has a huge impact on our day-to-day lives. It’s what shapes our cities, makes them unique, and brings our buildings, plazas, playgrounds, subway stations, airports and landmarks to life.
Public art enriches the areas where people live, work and play. It creates environments that stimulate learning and creativity in people of all ages, prompts self-reflection and awareness and develops a sense of community pride. “I think public art brings a community together. When a private sector can come and bring a different flavour to the masses and sort of enliven the particular area, street or network, I think it’s a great mutual exchange where people can appreciate the dialogue they want to create from the project,” says Samara.
But that’s not all — more than just invigorating our downtown core, public art helps to boost the economy as well. The general public is drawn to dynamic cultural scenes just as much as trendy restaurants and boutiques. When businesses are deciding whether or not to relocate to a new region, they look at the cultural attractions the area has to offer just as much as its infrastructure. Public art plays a huge role in establishing the culturally active places that society values so greatly. It breaks the trend of sameness and creates a strong community identity. “I hope when people are sort of circling around their community, that when they see the hoarding that we put up, they see themselves — it’s a bit of a reflection of their day-to-day and they relate to it directly and feel that they belong here as they do,” says Samara. “This is a part of who they are. It creates dialogue around the place that they chose to live.”