FUTURE: Sault Ste. Marie

Community Art Project (CAP)

A Community Art Project (CAP) was identified by the FutureSSM Arts & Culture Action Team (ACAT) as a priority in the development of the arts and culture sector.

“Public art generates tangible and intangible benefits, and in the most successful instances, it becomes an integral and beloved part of the community. Enhancing its environment, art enriches residents’ lives, instills a sense of civic pride, creates a shared history, connects communities, and provides opportunities for dialogue, engagement, and learning. By promoting cultural participation, public art stimulates cultural industries and the creative economy. And, especially important to the revitalization of Rust Belt cities, public art boosts the economy in a hyper-local way. The economic impacts benefit residents directly, driving spending to local businesses and creating jobs and opportunities for artists and residents alike.” (source: https://urbanland.uli.org/planning-design/enriching-city-public-art/ )

The first stage of FutureSSM’s Community Art Project (CAP) is coming to a close mid-July 2019. By working with community partners and local youth, FutureSSM has been successful in revitalizing neighbourhoods, providing mentorship opportunities for youth, celebrating local history, promoting arts & culture and creating economic opportunities. Over 300 youth have been involved in CAP since it kicked off in January of this year.

Initiatives of the project include:

GFL Memorial Gardens Mural Project

May 23, 2019 marked the official unveiling of three murals located in the GFL Memorial Gardens designed by local youth. In total 40 students from the Algoma District School Board high schools submitted artwork that was displayed at the unveiling. The experience was extremely positive for both the students and the local partners.

Project partners:

Algoma District School Board
Algoma Veterans Association

The Beanstock Project

City of Sault Ste. Marie


GFL Memorial Gardens

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25

Sault Ste. Marie Museum

Soo Greyhounds

Thank you to our sponsor:

Compass Imaging group & sign systems

“I’ve been teaching for over 20 year, and in the past I see our youth wanting to go away, leave Sault Ste. Marie. But now, I see a transition where with [mural art] projects like this, they are becoming invested in our community, and that is so critical to keeping them here and working towards making our community our place that we all love and adore. To see the students being appreciated for the work that they did was extremely rewarding.” - Sarah Constable, Leader of Experiential Learning, ADSB

The video below by Shaw Spotilght, 'SSM Honouring our Veterans Vetting', tells the story of the project:


Traffic Wrap Project and Sault College Grad Show 

The City required artwork to wrap traffic boxes located throughout the city. This is to help prevent tagging, tell community stories, beautify the city (create points of interest), and advance tourism and economic development opportunities, while raising profile of arts in the community. At the same time, Sault College is seeking experiential learning opportunities for students to gain professional knowledge in a real world work scenario while building strong portfolios to assist in future employment opportunities.

FutureSSM Staff conducted outreach to the Sault College Graphic Design Department, with the specific goal of involving students in the design of the vinyl wraps for traffic boxes, and was successful in adding the traffic box wrap project to the program’s curriculum. 

The traffic box project facilitated an opportunity for both needs to be satisfied and in doing so also helps to promote the arts in our community and support economic diversification. To date, nine traffic signal boxes throughout the community have been wrapped with new artwork inspired by our unique area and designed by local Sault College students. Six students, Khushali Contractor, Toni-Marie Grisdale, Miranda Leonard, Alexa McGregor, Jill Thatcher and Riley Winch participated in the first year of the project that has now been included in the Sault College Graphic Design Digital Media Program curriculum on an on-going basis. All artwork will be archived and used on a continuing basis for traffic signal box wraps throughout the city.

On May 2, 2019, the Sault College Graphic Design graduating class, in partnership with FutureSSM, held their grad show, ‘Designers Block’ at the Sault Ste. Marie Museum. The event showcased work done by students throughout the year, including traffic box wrap designs that were part FutureSSM’s Community Art Project.

“The Graphic Design class really enjoyed participating in the City Traffic Box project. It provided a 'real-life' project, allowing students to showcase their creativity and create a link to the City. Each student came up with their own unique thematic series of 10 traffic box designs, with the ultimate goal to communicate and represent aspects of Sault Ste. Marie for locals and visitors. During creative development, students presented their designs to classmates, the course professor along with a representative from FutureSSM, enabling a collaborative feedback process. The final designs were presented to a committee at City Hall, which was a great learning experience. The class would like to thank FutureSSM for this tremendous opportunity to be a part of engaging in the arts to help build a more vibrant City of Sault Ste. Marie!” - Sault College Graphic Design students (graduating class of 2019)


Downtown Community Mural Project

A partnership between FutureSSM and the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association, the 2019 Downtown Community Mural Project consisted of five large-scale murals in the downtown core. For the months and June and July, both local and out of town artists revitalized our downtown through public art, while also mentoring local youth in the process. Community Mural Block Parties providing programming in partnership with local businesses and organizations also took place in conjunction with the development of the murals to increase foot traffic downtown and celebrate the artists’ work.

The purpose of the mural project is three-fold:

1. Murals will increase Sault Ste. Marie's cultural vitality by introducing more art into the public sphere; public art initiatives allow for creative expression without cost barriers and promote a sense of identity and community. By connecting artists, businesses, government agencies and non-profit organizations in this collaborative, creative project, the development of murals themselves can advance the arts & culture sector in our community. 

2. Murals create destinations resulting in increased foot traffic, while adding colour, vibrancy and character to an urban environment. A more vibrant downtown will attract more locals and tourists alike, who shop at local stores and eat at local restaurants, thereby supporting economic development in Sault Ste. Marie.

3. Finally, through the development of youth-oriented curriculum, this mural project will provide students in our community with opportunities for experiential learning and mentorship. FutureSSM is working with Sault College, Algoma University, and others to involve students in this process.

Click HERE for more information. 



Public Furniture

FutureSSM partnered with the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board - Ontario Works, and the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre Construction Training Program to build public furniture that is now being used by businesses in Sault Ste. Marie’s downtown core.

Public Pianos

After putting out a public call for pianos to be donated to a community art project, the response was overwhelming; over 16 pianos were donated in just over 48 hours. A partnership between FutureSSM and the Algoma District School Board, this project has already proved to bring a sense of community to our downtown, and has provided a valuable opportunity for 40 secondary students enrolled in the Arts and Culture Specialist High Skills Major program at White Pines and over 80 elementary school students from East View, Grand View, Anna McCrea and Pinewood Public Schools.Click HERE for more info.










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