The Riverside BIA has taken a creative approach to their transitioning storefronts – by adding art to them.
Through the PATCH Project’s PATCH It Up program, Melissa Luk and Emanuel Ciobanica created new work for the Riverside community’s transitioning store fronts, during the Riverside ArtFEST held on July 13th 2014. Generously supported by the Riverside BIA, this three-paneled mural highlights the heritage of the neighbourhood by drawing inspiration from its busy business district, depicted through the artists’ whimsical aesthetic.
Lead artist Melissa began the process for this mural by taking a walk through the Riverside neighbourhood, through which she was inspired by the various “visual puns” and mentally stimulating signs in the community. Some of these visuals cues run parallel to Luk’s own political and civic interests, such as an awareness of local flora and fauna, urban homesteading, gentrification, and heritage preservation. Through her artistic process, she was able to incorporate the essence of the Riverside community, without the use of common, obvious, or generic imagery.
The Riverside BIA felt that animating transitioning storefronts, would also be a draw for new businesses, as it shows that the BIA is invested promoting the neighbourhood, and creating enjoyable streetscapes for potential customers. An active and invested BIA is one that also works to serve the businesses within it, attracting new potential businesses to the BIA.
Check out the video on the creation of this piece here