In September 2008 This Is My City (TMC) was initiated by The City of Calgary, department of Arts & Culture to facilitate the engagement of homeless citizens in art making and to build a program through a team approach with contributors including The City of Calgary, One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre and individual artists within the community. To date TMC has developed programs with the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre, The Mustard Seed, the Calgary Homeless Foundation, the Calgary Women’s Centre, Inn from the Cold, and the Boys & Girls Club of Calgary, to name a few.
TMC was a multidisciplinary program that includes: poetry, fiction, performance, personal narrative, street reportage, drawing, painting, installation, printmaking, sculpture, photography, and video. Small groups of homeless art-makers, paired with an artist-mentor, work collaboratively to determine their project outcome. Artworks created during the project span will be exhibited, performed, published or showcased online for public viewing.
Over the course of twelve months (January 2009 – January 2010) TMC provided artistic tools and mentorship to support homeless art-makers in finding their creative voices and encourages homeless citizens to use their art-making as a conduit for public advocacy and dialogue.
TMC became a registered society in 2010. This is My City will continue to work to provide the opportunity for homeless artists to learn new skills, express themselves and their experiences in a positive way, allowing a sense of success and enjoyment into their daily lives. It has also provided professional development opportunities for artists within the community to participate as artist mentors who will work with homeless artists, developing positive relationships and a stronger community.
TMC does not pretend to be a solution to the homeless crisis.
Rather, the society’s projects intend to enable homeless citizens to speak on their own behalf through the power of creative self-expression.