The Welcome Back Project - Pop Up Exhibitions
The Welcome Back Project was a community-engaged Temporary Public Art Project that responded to the varying challenges brought on by the pandemic, and to the divisive unrest that has grown in our communities and beyond. Participating artists and community members were provided with a standard unmarked welcome mat to engage with the question: “What makes a welcoming community?”. What emerged represents voices of unique experiences, place, belonging, and acceptance.
Pop Up Exhibitions: Over 150 welcome mat artworks were created through the collaborative effort of the Ottawa community. The general public participated through the outreach method of free public workshops offered at the Ottawa Public Library (Sunnyside Branch) and Jack Purcell Community Centre. Additionally, local Public School Students from Elmdale Public School (grade 2 and 3) and Canterbury High School (Pride Club and Grade 12 Visual Arts) accepted the invitation to contribute to the project. The artworks were installed en-masse at four temporary "pop up" exhibitions.
The Welcome Back Project was conceptualized by Christos Pantieras, and offered in conjunction with Third Way Creative's Reflection/Inflection Arts Response Project's Public Art Accelerator - Community Engaged Art Project and by the City of Ottawa O-Train Public Art Program. The Welcome Back Project was mounted in Ottawa (ON) from October 15th - 30th, 2022.