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Like many industries across the country, the arts and culture sector of the GTA has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to help those in the community, Artscape Atelier has partnered with Lakeview Community Partners, the developers behind a massive new mixed-use community in Mississauga, to commission a series of art projects within the development site. Seventeen artists will be commissioned for four unique projects, generating more than $100,000 in paid opportunities for the Greater Toronto Area and the Artscape artist communities during COVID-19.

“Through our relationships with developers and artists, we are in a unique position to make a difference,” said Assaf Weisz, Chief Strategy Officer and Director, Creative Placemaking Lab, Artscape. “We believe we have a responsibility to utilize our collective resources and connections to demonstrate leadership in this moment to help artists earn a living.”

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Created in 2019, Artscape Atelier is a social enterprise dedicated to creating opportunities for artists to meaningfully participate in city-building through site-specific public art initiatives. Since its inception, it has partnered with developers on $190,000-worth of local artist works, including park benches and bicycle racks at the Zibi community in Gatineau, Quebec, and over 1,300 unique welcome gifts for new condominium owners at Daniels City of the Arts and DuEast Tower in Regent Park.

“Artscape Atelier offers a tremendous opportunity for artists and urban developers to work together on creating a built environment that is not only functional, but contributes to the aesthetics of the community in a very positive way, by turning the city into a giant canvas for creative expression,” said Weisz.

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Located in Port Credit, Lakeview Village is a large-scale, master-planned community coming soon to Mississauga’s waterfront. The mixed-use project will transform a 177-acre, unused parcel of waterfront land with a diverse collection of residential buildings, including affordable housing for artists. The community will also include new offices, retail spaces, cafes, restaurants, cultural and recreational amenities, parks and connections to the city’s Waterfront Trail, and the nearby 64-acre Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area.

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“We are very excited to partner with Artscape, through its Artscape Atelier initiative, to create immediate opportunities for artists to earn income during this particularly difficult period, while creating works that will significantly beautify and create a sense of community around the site once social distancing measures are lifted,” said Brian Sutherland, Director of Development, Argo Development Corporation, and development lead for Lakeview Village.

“It is deeply embedded in the vision of Lakeview Village to create a hub for arts and culture and to establish platforms for artists both during the construction process and within the future community. We see the arts as a central component to making Lakeview Village a vibrant and enjoyable place for residents and visitors.”

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The four commissioned works will be featured across nearly 500 feet of construction hoarding surrounding the Lakeview Village site along Lakeshore Boulevard and Hydro Road, as well as area walking and cycling trails. One of the pieces will also integrate a field of one million sunflowers that have been planted on the existing Lakeview Village land to aid in the remediation efforts through the process of phytoremediation, which allows for soil optimization. Another piece specifically involves a collaboration with Indigenous leaders in Mississauga.

The process will integrate careful social distancing measures, including the digital creation of works offsite in the immediate term. Artists can apply and learn more about the projects, including information sessions and timelines, by visiting creativeplacemakinglab.submittable.com.

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