By Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative ReporterThe Auroran
Fri., July 23, 2021timer3 min. read
It’s not every day where taking a writing implement and expressing yourself on a wall is anything but frowned upon, but with a piece of chalk in hand, the Aurora Public Library is encouraging you to express yourself on its “Everything Wall.”
On now through the end of July, the Library has launched their “Everything Wall” in partnership with the Town of Aurora, one where all you need is a piece of chalk, a bit of imagination, and, if you want to take it really seriously, a camera to show off your work on social media.
The initiative has seen large blackboards installed on Church Street fencing around the Aurora Town Square building project.
It’s inspired by Drew Hayden Taylor’s novel, Chasing Painted Horses, the Library’s 2021 One Book One Aurora selection where one such wall plays a pivotal part in the story.
“In the book, the mom invites neighbourhood kids to come and draw something on the wall,” explains Reccia Mandelcorn, Manager of Community Collaboration for the Library. “She puts a chalkboard up every week and every week the kids are invited to come by and put something on the wall. Then there’s a vote as to what the best artwork is.
“One Book One Aurora (OBOA), which we have been hosting at the Library since 2014, has always been an adult book because usually when you do a community read, just because of the substance and reach, it is an adult book and there has never been an opportunity to have any of the events that are part of OBOA extend to the whole community, including children. But, in this particular book, there was the option to be able to have an evolving community art project where little kids and grandparents can participate in.”
The success of the OBOA project is its ability to extend beyond Library walls and into the entire community.
When they happened upon this idea, the Library reached out to Phil Rose, Project Manager for the Town Square development, to collaborate – an opportunity that he and the Town jumped at, getting their hands dirty painting the chalkboards and making sure they’re secure for the community to let their creativity fly.
The one primary difference from the book, however, is the Library is not going to pick what is “best” from contributions submitted to them via email or social media; rather, the winner is selected by random draw each week through to the end of the month.
“One of the most special things to me about Chasing Painted Horses and the idea of the Everything Wall is Drew captures the creative process – it is not the finished project that matters very much to the young protagonist, Danielle, but the process in bringing the book to life. In that respect, something like the Everything Wall where anybody – children, grandparents, any ages – can draw and go through the process of contributing to something that is seen by the community. It doesn’t stay there forever as we only have two large spaces, it is not like a finished project that is hung on your wall or your refrigerator forever, but it is an evolving creative expression.
“I think that speaks to part of the story in the book about the artistic process, the artistic process of our community, whether they are three years old, eight years old, or 89 years old.”
To take part in the Everything Wall project, all you need to do is go up to the Library’s temporary Church Street entrance, ask for a piece of chalk, let your imagination run wild – keeping in mind community standards, of course – and, when you’re done, snap a picture and send it to LFrechette@aurorapl.ca. In light of COVID-19, there is no need to return the chalk.
“You can express yourself in any way,” says Ms. Mandelcorn. “We hope people will send in their pictures so we will be able to post them and have a record. It’s an activity you can do outside, it’s safe, you can have social distance, say what you want, draw what you want, and be a part of an evolving community project.
“Just enjoy and be a part of the community.”