The STEPS Initiative is an award-winning charity that bridges culture, community, and city-building by animating unlikely spaces with unlikely partners. We seek to inspire cities across Canada and around the world to create welcoming public spaces that reflect and celebrate local community through artistic excellence. We provide a platform for people to lead initiatives that validate their experiences, their community’s cultures and histories, and their concern for social and environmental issues, all while transforming their communities through public art.
STEPS has been in operation since 2011 as an incubated project of the Centre for Social Innovation. In 2014, we incorporated as an independent non-profit organization and, in 2016, we registered as a charitable organization with the CRA. Over this time, we have led many large-scale public art installations across the Toronto and engaged thousands of community members, during which we have received numerous honours for our work.
STEPS is an award-winning charity that bridges culture, community, and city-building by animating unlikely spaces with unlikely partners. We seek to inspire cities across Canada and around the world to create welcoming public spaces that reflect and celebrate local community through artistic excellence. We do this by:
- Propelling Toronto onto the global public art map, by leading world-class cultural exchanges—like our transformation of Yonge St. and St Clair Ave. with one of the world’s top street artists.
- Engaging Diverse Communities - we enable equity-seeking youth and diverse communities from outside the downtown core to actively shape their immediate public spaces and create artwork that is reflective of their community and lived-experience.
- Building Capacity of Emerging Artists, such as the 120 artists on our roster, through unique training, mentoring, and equitably-paid opportunities.
- Providing a platform for youth to develop civic leadership skills, resulting in some of Canada's most community-engaged public art initiatives, like the World's Tallest Mural.
- Bridging Culture and City-Building through our Social Enterprise STEPS.CityLab, which provides public realm solutions to some of Canada’s largest public and private developers—such as Infrastructure Ontario, Tridel, Cresford, Menkes, and CAPREIT—while increasing the sustainability of our community programs.
- Developing Sustainable Public Spaces—through leveraging existing resources and repurposed materials to create welcoming, innovative and environmentally conscious interventions in partnership with our host communities.
More information on our social enterprise PATCH can be found at www.thepatchproject.com