About

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The Red Wagon Collective (RWC) is a loose knit group of women identified folks who do cultural work around the effects of poverty and homelessness in the Junction, a neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada.

Women from the Junction gather every week with our neighbours who live at a local shelter for women to make art. The Monday Art Group (MAG) is a space where we can work on our own projects, make gifts or practical items, mend our clothes, share and produce knowledge and spend time with one another in community.  RWC understands community as an uneasy space – but a space necessary for survival and activism. The MAG is a space where we push the boundaries of neigbourliness, social arts, dialogue and resistance,  where we claim recognition for the productivity of low income life in the gentrifying city of Toronto.
In 2013 the Red Wagon Collective secured a small amount of funding to do a photo-documentary research project on homelessness, aging and disability. This project is ongoing in the sense that as a community these issues are always at the forefront of our work.

 

HerSTORY

The Red Wagon Collective (RWC)  was started in 2007 by Loree Lawrence, Amy Kazymerchuk, and Noah Kenneally. Their first project, the Gathering Space, was located in a storefront in the Junction neighbourhood, and used as a base to create artworks around the themes of people, community, identity and place.  the Gathering Space involved women living at Evangeline women’s shelter adjacent to the storefront. After completing the first stage of the Gathering Space, the collective secured funding (Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council) to continue working with the residents of Evangeline.

At this time, nancy v.d. halifax, Liz Forsberg and Liza Kim Jackson joined the RWC, and  relocated to the shelter to facilitate the Gathering Space as a weekly artgroup (Monday Art Group). The art group’s next objective was to co-create multiple large scale banners to display inside and outside of Evangeline, named The Evangeline Transformation Project. RWC completed the banners in 2010, which remain prominently displayed on Evangeline’s external walls.

While working on the banners, the art group also produced the Quilt Project using scrap knitting and crochet left over from the women’s regular projects. RWC now uses The Quilt as the base for an interactive performance piece about women and homelessness, and has traveled to conferences around the world.

By 2010-2011 the Monday Art Group had developed into an important creative space within the shelter that the women residents articulated a strong need for, so nancy v.d. halifax and Liza Kim Jackson continued to as the RWC facilitate the group whether we attained funding or not.

Most recently, nancy v.d. halifax has been unable to attend the weekly artgroup but remains a fierce supporter of the work making regular financial contributions. In 2015, MAG/RWC facilitation expanded to include Abbey Jackson. Marlene Bluebird Stickings and Minutet Nima also continue to attend the group and be a great help with MAG organizing.

woolly mess MAG

The Salvation Army has welcomed the continued presence of the project.

Evangeline residence has served the women of Toronto for more than 100 years in various locations. It can shelter as many as 77 women who are homeless for a variety of reasons. Abused women, refugees, post psychiatric patients, and mothers who need help reuniting and providing for their children come to Evangeline.

For an archive of past work:

http://gatheringspace.blogspot.ca/

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