‘Humans of Riverside’ series Launches as Part of iheART Mainstreet Art Challenge

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On September 1, 2020, the Riverside BIA got together with local BIPOC artists Bareket Kezner and Yshmael Cabana, the STEPS Initiative, RBC and community members to launch the ‘Humans of Riverside’ story telling series a part of the iheART Mainstreet Art Challenge.

The Riverside BIA – located along Toronto’s Queen Street East from the iconic bridge over the Don River to just past De Grassi St – is proud to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness with the story-telling series: “Humans of Riverside: Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC”. The project was launched in summer 2020 in collaboration with BIPOC writer and editor Grace Cameron, artists Bareket Kezwer (@bkez) and Yshmael Cabana (@_yshyshysh), and local residents, business owners and other community members, to bring public art and story-telling to Queen Street East in the Riverside BIA. This project is supported by STEPS Initiative (@STEPSInitiative) and RBC as part of their iheart Mainstreet Art Challenge.

Launch of Humans of Riverside series as part of the iheart Mainstreet Art Challenge, September 2020

Launch of Humans of Riverside series as part of the iheart Mainstreet Art Challenge at Eastbound Brewing Co, 700 Queen St E, September 2020

The “Humans of Riverside: Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC” story-telling project makes physical space in storefront windows for BIPOC artists, and gives voice to stories from local BIPOC community members in Riverside. Each piece of art and each story shared has a bigger meaning that connects to the local business/window and to the BIPOC community member by sharing a link/QR code to their full story online. The Main Street Art Challenge brings this new and ongoing storytelling series to life, and the art produced for the challenge will continue to live virtually beyond the Main Street Art Challenge as part of the ongoing ‘Humans of Riverside‘ storytelling initiative.

Write/Editor Grace Cameron with community member Drew Dopwell who share a story as part of Humans of Riverside and the iheart Mainstreet Challenge

Write/Editor Grace Cameron with community member Drew Dopwell who share a story as part of Humans of Riverside and the iheart Mainstreet Challenge, at the September 2020 launch of the series in Toronto’s Riverside BIA

The artists Bareket Kezner and Yshmael Cabana at the launch of the Humans of Riverside iheart Mainstreet Challenge in Riverside at Eastbound Brewing Co

The artists Bareket Kezner and Yshmael Cabana at the launch of the Humans of Riverside iheart Mainstreet Challenge in Riverside at Eastbound Brewing Co, 700 Queen St E

Read the full stories and visit the art works:

Charlene‘s Story: east-facing window at 660 Queen Street East (Quince)

Omar’s Story: Queen St window at 4 Munro Street (Oma)

Drew’s Story: window at 686 Queen Street East (The John)

Grace’s Story: window at 700 Queen Street East (Eastbound)

Rohit’s Story: west-facing window at 800 Queen Street East

The Riverside BIA wishes to thank:

The storytellers. We are proud to showcase all these incredible community members, artists, business owners and the stories of family, food, perseverance, legacy, and unstoppable strength. Thank you for sharingOmar (owner of Pizzaiolo), Drew (BIA maintenance staff), Rohit (owner of Indian Spice Room), Charlene (community kitchen at RTCC), Grace (special thanks as our ‘Humans of Riverside series writer/editor’).

The business owners/managers who are giving space on their windows for the storytellers: Dave of Eastbound Brewing Co,  Josh of The John, Adrienne of Oma Chiropractic & Wellness, Derek and Andre, Rosie and the team at Quine Flowers.

The artists: Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana

The story writer/ editor Grace Cameron.

The STEPS Initiative and RBC for their support of the iheART Mainstreet Initiative.

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