Art City hosts live movie making at the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre

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The idea of children in homemade costumes might not sound terrifying – but it will be if Cathy Gordon and Ulysses Castellanos (Toronto) have their way.

On Oct. 26, community members of all ages will gather at Broadway Neighbourhood Centre to create monster movies live! The idea for a night of monster movie magic was proposed by the artists, as one of Art City’s Professional Artist Workshops.

“We thought the idea proposed by these two top-notch artists would be a great fit for our yearly Halloween party,” says managing director Josh Ruth.

Art City is a community art centre in the West Broadway neighbourhood that offers classes and workshops to artists and budding artists year-round at no cost. It was founded by legendary local artist Wanda Koop in 1998 whose vision for the centre is to give people the chance to think creatively.

“My feeling is that if you can think creatively, you can survive almost anything,” says Koop.

“Video is an amazing medium for community art. The Art City participants always shock and delight us when given a chance to rock video,” says Ruth.

While not always the easiest medium to work within a community setting, due to a need for resources and expertise, Ruth says that when attention spans and resources allow, getting kids in on the entire process can produce amazing results.

“Fortunately, we have some incredibly talented staff and volunteers like Andy Rudolph and Ryan Simmons; local creative wizards who help us with the more technical considerations,” says Ruth. “Behind the controls this time is Cathy Gordon, a multidisciplinary artist and programmer living and working in Toronto. Gordon will be doing editing and adding special effects on-scene. She is no stranger to working with art in a community setting, as she just finished a story-collecting multi-media project in the Queen/Bathurst neighbourhood of Toronto.”

The films are, with the exception of creative contributions from the guest artists, completely community-made. The centre has been working with artists in its programs for a month to create sets, props, and costumes for the movies.

“Every year I see more and more pre-fab, super lame Wal-Mart costumes on kids at Halloween. I get it, they are cheap and on trend. But we like to show participants that you can have way more fun hand-making your own,” says Ruth.

Seeing their costume and set creations come to life on an old-time movie screen will add to the effect and help drive home the point to the participants.

“It is not just about Halloween, but teaching kids to realize their creative visions are we are all about, all year around.”

Performance artist Ulysses Castellanos will be directing the short films with local participants. Ruth says that Art City participants have incredible creative vision and thinks Castellanos and Gordon will be well-suited to harnessing that vision and creating pieces that are truly collaborative.

“Personally, I cannot wait to see them pull this off. I had my doubts at first, but they have done live movie making in places like the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and I have absolute faith in their abilities.”

Of course, the most important part is not only giving the neighbourhood residents the tools to think creatively, but the ability to do so together and work as a community towards a goal.

“These kinds of special events are like social sculpture, and this one in particular. Let’s all get together as a community and make our own fun. Let’s see what that looks like. It will be ridiculously blow-your-mind cool.”

If you want your mind blown by collaborative art, be at the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre between 5 and 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26.