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Since its inception in 2012, StART programs and projects have been rooted in a set of values that demonstrate the positive and powerful impacts of diversity and inclusion, foster community engagement and civic pride, add colour and vitality to neighbourhoods, encourage active transportation, showcase Toronto artists and contribute to their skills development, mentor emerging talent, foster positive relationships between residents, business owners and operators, artists and arts organizations and create a sense of belonging among all.

As a result, Toronto is now home to some of the best street, mural and graffiti art and artists in the world! StreetARToronto is committed to creating value with and for them, from their entry onto the street art scene with access to small canvasses and micro grants, all the way to large scale murals on high-rise buildings, skills building workshops, international artist exchanges, and more.

Explore the Front Line Heroes Collection:

For 10 years, StreetARToronto has helped instigate and provide space for individual and community expressions to come alive through street art, using the art itself as the catalyst to bring communities together, stimulate discussion and advance diversity, equity and inclusion of Toronto. Through this curatorial lens, we bring you the ‘Celebrating Front Line Heroes’ Exhibit. This exhibit features artwork by Toronto street, mural and graffiti artists that celebrate Toronto front line service providers including health care workers, volunteers and other heroes responding to the global coronavirus pandemic. The works in this exhibit represent a diversity of essential workers of all ages, genders, background and professions from mail carriers and grocery store employees to teachers and sanitation workers, as well as doctors, nurses and first responders, all painted by an equally diverse group of artists.

While this series of artworks illustrates a lot of great street art there is also another story here, a unique Toronto story. In 2011, representatives of Toronto’s municipal government, the street and graffiti artist community, arts organizations, academia, police, business and business districts in Toronto brought their diverse voices and ideas together. This highly successful partnership was the beginning of the collaborative spirit that synthesized Toronto’s unique embrace of graffiti and street art culture and recognized the potential opportunities for artists and local neighbourhoods to work together, ultimately establishing a shared vision of what Toronto’s streets could be.

Our streets need to be safe and functional and StreetARToronto has shown that they can also be meaningful and inspiring, reinforcing our sense of place and our image of ourselves.

Enjoy the Front Line Heroes Exhibit, then take this booklet on a self-guided tour to explore Toronto at your own pace, and reflect on and celebrate with us the heroes who have helped us through the global coronavirus pandemic.

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