A community-centered project made in response to Call to Action #83 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. This report calls for Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process.
Meditating on this call to action, Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists were paired together to collaborate on a mural that contributes to the reconciliation process. The pairs were assigned a Bell utility box location and theme; each theme was determined by the Aurora Cultural Centre through our conversations with local Indigenous artists and educators. Over the course of 2 months, the pairs worked together to conceptualize, design, and manifest their work into a collaboratively painted Bell box mural.
“At the heart of this project is the intention of reconciling communities through something that bonds us all together: imagination, creativity, and expression,” says Suzanne Haines, Executive Director. “We hope these nine creations reflect our diverse character as Canadians and the bright future that we are actively building.”
This project is a collaboration of the Aurora Cultural Centre, Canadian Mental Health Association York Region and South Simcoe, the Town of Aurora, and Bell Box Murals. Sharlene Wong (CMHA York Region and South Simcoe) started connecting with Michael Cavanaugh (Director, Bell Box Murals) in 2018:
I hoped to bring this to Aurora, where I work for CMHA York Region & South Simcoe. Part of my role as an Occupational Therapist in CMHA is to help people connect to the community, to be part of something greater than themselves, and one important way that we’ve managed to do this is through the arts. This is about empowerment, as people become contributors to their community when their art is seen, and voices are heard – there is a shift of roles to becoming an artist.
This project is important to Aurora as it is important to recognize the diversity of voices: to have surprising and joyful moments, moments of curiosity, hope and connection.
– Sharlene Wong (CMHA York and South Simcoe)
The Aurora Cultural Centre would like to thank the 13 artists who participated in the project, as well as the overwhelming support from the community during the completion of the project. The creative journey of the Aurora Bell Box Murals project can be found on our social media channels:
FB: Aurora Cultural Centre
Please scroll down for images of all nine boxes in the Bell Box Murals Project, along with the full list and descriptions of the murals and featured artists!