On Saturday September 27th, with help of Student Union reps Simran and James, we set up at OCAD’s Student Gallery with yellow pages aplenty lining several group art tables, ready for drawings. OCAD’s first ever event created exclusively for Culture Days, The Yellow Pages Project – brainchild of curatorial talent, Vicki Clough – reached out to the surrounding community, repurposing books that in today’s cell phone culture are sadly underused. James, a DJ, brought with him his musical talents and an eclectic soundtrack that permeated the space over its run time of 12:00-5:30.
I chalk a lot of the curious heads that popped in up to that. “Come for the music, stay for the art” turned out to be the motto of the day: with a few having RSVP’ed in advance we had an incredible number of sheer pedestrians swing in. What surprised me most was the average length of each stay, which I’d put around a good half an hour. Crayons and markers and paper and sound together seemed to form the basis of a bona fide creative oasis. A deep absorption into artistic activity was the norm for our participants, and it shows in the widely ranging selection of works we received. Another surprise was how many visitors were vacationing in Canada. No less than three waves of Americans – from Boston, Washington D.C., and New York – came in and also hung out for a ton of time, leading to some interesting cross-cultural exchange.
Given how minimal our initial concept had been (come in, do anything you like with our materials – make origami, sculptures, drawings, whatever) one huge lesson for me was how completely wonderfully such a presentation can work out. Especially given its extension into the public sphere, community members were able to take from it whatever they wanted to, while giving others something back in whatever they left behind. And that, of course, is the whole point of Culture Days!
Take a peek at some shots from the afternoon here!