Sound, songs, and studios…

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If you know any of the Making Room team personally, you know that we’re all inordinately passionate about podcasts (perhaps you could say obsessed?). For so many reasons, these online radio shows have revealed to us the incredibly potential of audio for collaborative art making with communities and for telling stories in interesting ways. Artistic Director Michael Burtt even has his own blog about podcasts, Thoughts on Tape, which you can check out for more recommendations and reflections on the medium.

Thus it was only natural that we would make the world of sound our newest area of interest. You may have seen the shadow puppet show we produced this summer at Camp Naivelt, which relied heavily on sound, or caught wind of the Clock of All Time at PARC solstice, which also involved a sound piece.  Since September, we’ve been using microphones and recording technologies in our workshops to gather tape from the many folks we work with.

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Naturally, our Choir Director Shifra Cooper has been an instrumental help in directing some of our work with sound. Last month, Shifra led the choir in a special recording session to document the piece“On Tuesdays,” commissioned by Jumblies Theatre, composed and written especially for our choir by Kyle Brenders and Ange Loft.

Shifra has also been helping lead our Wednesday Sand in Water workshops, where we’ve been taking up and unpacking the idea of editing not just through recording, but through our own bodies as a medium.

All of this to say, keep your ears open, friends of Making Room. Because you’ll be hearing lots from us very, very soon!

Photos courtesy of Shifra Cooper and Jonathan Valelly

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The Clock of All Time


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We tell stories about the past everyday. At the same time, we imagine aloud our shared visions for the future.

At PARC, storytelling often takes on the character of the future as we revisit the past, filling the room in the present with the emotions and questions of a story that spans both. In other words, stories never live in just one chapter of time, but rather live simultaneously in the past, present, and future. The time-spanning nature of stories inspired our contribution to PARC’s Winter Solstice celebration, an installation and live enactment of stories we dubbed The Clock of All Time.

Winter Solstice is the biggest day of the year at PARC, and since Making Room’s work there began in 2010, we’ve always made sure to be a part of the celebration. It’s a tradition that’s been going on since PARC’s inception, and while many PARC members celebrate other holidays in December, Solstice is the one we all share in together. This year, we presented The Clock of All time as a way of bringing together and honouring all of the work Making Room has been doing at PARC and Edmond Place this fall around stories, bringing together diverse media such as comics, traditional storytelling, sound design, bookmaking and song. Continue reading

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Happy 5th Birthday Edmond Place!

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On January 5th, 2016, Edmond Place celebrated 5 years since the day its first tenants moved in!

Edmond Place is an apartment building that adjoins PARC, and in a previous life it was one of the largest and most notorious rooming houses in Parkdale. The folks at PARC, in conjunction with the Affordable Housing Program, Habitat Services, the City of Toronto and a host of other individuals and organizations, fought to renew and transform Edmond Place into affordable and supportive housing for people in the PARC community. It opened its refurbished doors in 2011, and was named in honour of the late Edmond Yu, who once lived there as a boarder.

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As a part of the celebration, Making Room artists and Edmond Place residents created small memory books, enshrining memories of growth and excitement as well as of loss and adjustment. We shared in a grilled chicken lunch prepared by EP chef Michael Dawson (who braved temperatures of -12°C to man the barbecue) and in the afternoon joined staff, residents, and friends of EP to watch the 1993 classic Benny & Joon. It was a warm, beautiful, creative way to celebrate in the middle of the winter’s cold.

Happy five years Edmond Place!

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A celebratory autumn trip to MABELLEarts

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This past Thursday October 29, we were honored to be invited to join our sister company  MABELLEarts in celebrating all of the wonderful things that have been happening in Mabelle Park this year, chief among them the long-anticipated installation of streetlights in the park, making it a brighter and safer place around the clock!

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(Photo by Liam Coo)

Mabelle community members joined in with the Making Room Choir and Edmond Place arts group for an impromptu choir rehearsal around the fire pit, sharing in tea and flatbread prepared by the MABELLEarts women’s cooking group.

Amidst the songs and the smell of leaves, visitors were invited to tour around the many changes that have happened in the park, with news of things to come.

We’re always delighted to be a part of art in the park. Thanks MABELLE!

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Sure As the Park

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If you’ve been following us at all here on our blog or our facebook page, you know that 2015 has seen our busiest summer yet, with many projects on the go and many new friends. Chief among them has been our new partnership with the amazing Greenest City, We’ve been working all summer in Masaryk Park with gardeners, artists, and community members in Masaryk Park in preparation for our Harvest Celebration on September 19 — and what a celebration it was!

In the week leading up to the event, Making Room artists were busy at work every day in the park. Lead artist Jess Shane, with the crucial support of Dylan Tate-Howarth and Trevor Hardy, the Making Room artistic team and dozens of community volunteers and participants, looked towards the space of the park itself for a final burst of inspiration. Indeed, the three large trees — a maple, a pear, and a chestnut tree to be precise — forming a triangle offered a special possibility to raise high the work we’d made throughout the summer. Continue reading

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The Spirit of Sparrow Lake

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The annual trip to Camp is a celebrated and ever anticipated PARC tradition. Though it has been happening for many years, it is only the second year that it has taken place at Camp Sparrow Lake, a beautiful perch in Severn, Ontario. It’s also the second time that Making Room has had the opportunity to come along for the ride, complementing the week’s activities and respite with art-making workshops, and taking the lead on the final campfire celebration. Continue reading

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Digging deeper at Greenest City

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We’ve been a bunch of busy bees at Making Room this summer, more so than ever before! Every year, we take some time off of our Sand in Water and Drop-In workshops at PARC to relax, focus on artist development and plan for the year ahead. But since our newest partner, Greenest City, works with gardeners in the Mazaryk-Cowan Park and elsewhere primarily during the summer months, we knew we couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to make new relationships and get to know the urban gardeners and community members over there! Continue reading

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Peace Camp and the Promiscuous Furniture

There is nowhere in the world like Camp Naivelt. Established in 1925 as the summer children’s camp by the Jewish Women’s Labour League, it’s since evolved to become a secluded summer community in the heart of Brampton, ON (of all places!). With a long history of leftist activism, Jewish culture and arts and music, Naivelt today continues to be a hotbed of community building and creativity — and also a summer retreat for Making Room Community Arts!

While continuing to do our summer programming in Parkdale, Making Room was honoured to be invited to produce the yearly Art Week at Camp Naivelt during the first week of August. Nodding to its overlap with the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing and the long-held annual tradition of a social justice themed Peace Tea at Naivelt, we chose to name the week Peace Camp. Continue reading

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Making Room at the Parkdale Film + Video Showcase

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Making Room invites you to join us at the Parkdale Film + Video Showcase this week. As part of the free ReClaim video programme at Dunn Avenue Parkette at 9pm, the public will be able to watch our video, “Morning In Parkdale.”

This special video is a rendering of our overhead projector play created during our One Small Gesture celebration, featuring a soundscape and imagery created by members of our choir and the broader PARC community.

Hope to see you there!

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↗️ The Way Here ⏎

On May 29th, Making Room Community Arts celebrated the end of their year’s workshops and projects at PARC with a special celebration: The Way Here.

Since our Summit of Legends, Making Room and PARC members have been exploring and elaborating the many different pathways and places that make up our geographies, individually and collectively. PARC is just one stop on a life-long map for everybody here, and the neighbourhood of Parkdale serves as a beating heart at the centre of the lively and never-ending movement of the people in our communities.

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To celebrate that, we made signs and arrows pointing in all directions, guiding people to destinations as close as Little Portugal and as far as “The Outer Limits.” As the event began, PARC’s very own J-Cal marched into the room with a massive signpost bearing many of these names and places.

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Above this stage area was a rotary parade of the many modes of getting around, engineered by Sonja Rainey with work designed by more than a dozen PARC members.

The main event of the day was a special performance by the Making Room Choir, led by Shifra Cooper, who sang “Buried Underneath,” a special piece composed my Martin Van de Ven for Jumblies Theatre musicians, as well as “On Tuesdays,” a piece composed specially for the Making Room Choir. As the choir began to sing, a beautiful, textured and dyed map of our many pathways swung down behind them.

Continue reading

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