Green Arts at Evergreen Brick Works

I have been lucky over the last year to be involved in a small way in the thinking around ‘Green Arts’ at the new Evergreen Brick Works site, which has just opened in Toronto in October. Evergreen Brick Works is quickly becoming the environmental community centre of the city, with environmental education programs for schools, a plant nursery of indigenous plant species, a series of demonstration gardens, and a wonderful market featuring organic and fair trade food. It will also become the centre of environmental arts in Canada over time, acting as a much needed hub for artists, musicians, dancers and actors who share similar goals in sustainability through their practice.

The rejuvenation of the site is an art installation in its own right – the century old brick kilns and factory buildings are taking on a new life as classrooms, meeting places, exhibit spaces and performance venues. Artist-in-residence Ferruccio Sardella worked closely with the architects to ensure that the some of the patina and history of these spaces was left intact, including some of the existing street art, like the large graffiti murals that were created on the walls years ago. Ferruccio’s own works are slowly being added to the site, not only to build its own eco-art collection but also to materialize Evergreen’s ideals in aesthetic form. Other works on site include Dan Bergeron’s large-scale photo murals of the former brick workers in the kiln buildings, and art videos inside the kilns themselves!

Landscape architect Heidi Campbell is working on a creative, interactive space for children to play and create their own eco-artworks made of natural and found materials – this should be ready for the spring of 2011. Artists Shannon Crossman and Morgan Zigler have been supporting its development by sharing their innovative activities with children and families in the children’s garden over the past two summers.

Be sure to visit the Evergreen Brick Works website for more info at [] or better yet, visit in person!

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