- Provide a community of practice, promotion and platform for them.ca artists;
- Mentor, support and develop young urban artists;
- Research and conduct urban renewal in the form of art, and
- Promote and produce art exhibits, events and festivals for the enjoyment and education of the public.
Summary Description of Activities:
Them.ca, the flagship of the Foundation for Advancement of Young Urban Artists was founded in 1997 and has grown to over 30 emerging to established artists. We operate in Toronto with artists in Ottawa, Montreal, London, Tokyo, On, Barcelona and London, UK. Over time we have evolved into a federally incorporated NPO (Non-Profit Organization) but still integrate many of the ideologies of collective behaviour,
The mandate of the organization is manifested in the art show and projects it produces and participates in. One of the best examples was an art exhibition held at the Art Gallery of Ontario (HYPE 3). It involved over thirty international, local and national emerging and established artists from the borderland between the fine art and street/graffiti world. Over one thousand people attended the opening and thirty-three public, private, Para-public and non-profit organizations were involved from the partner to affiliate level. Within this exhibition was a fundraiser for War child Canada (M16) that saw 21 artists paint plastic guns to be sold via silent auction; $2000.00 was raised.
Finding employment for young urban artists one of the key functions of T.H.E.M. The organization provides creative services to organizations such as 4 Unity Productions Youth Media Association, Toronto City Hall - Youth Cabinet, Mutant X Productions, The Toronto Zoo, The Toronto Rehab Foundation, The Art Gallery of Ontario and YTV.
As far as researching and conducting urban renewal in the form of art, the organization is in the final evaluation stages of the pilot project that was conducted within The Kingston Maximum Security Correctional Facility. The 36.50 x 4.25 m (120' x14') pilot mural was painted by a diverse group of young emerging and established artists in March and May of 2003 in the gymnasium that is used by the inmate-patients. It was designed by means of a democratic process in order to maximize buy-in, ownership and participation from the clients and staff.
The pilot project was followed by a collaborative evaluation measuring outcomes such as attendance levels; behaviour; satisfaction; the impact of the process vs. the product; and quality of life increases caused by the art. Evaluation of the pilot project showed a significant positive impact on the quality of life for the inmate-patients. Other data pointed to a change in the inmate-patients' behaviour when with the mural as well as other positive effects to the social environment within the facility. A summary of the evaluation is available on request. It is hoped that this type of project will be continued into other facilities devoted to healing.
A splayed-wall image of the full 120'x 14' mural in Kingston Maximum Security Correctional Facility
R. Mackeen, B. Fenn, G. Nakagawa, A. Labignan, A. Parada & D. Ostrom
Spray-paint and acrylic, 2003