The Countdown Public Art Project
The Countdown Public Art Project is a province-wide multidisciplinary arts initiative that creates outdoor monuments in public spaces to honour those affected by gender-based violence and to imagine, or count down to, a world without gender-based violence.
Since 2016, 12 Countdown monuments have been created and permanently installed in many communities across rural Ontario: Pembroke, Eganville, Killaloe, Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, North Bay, Peterborough-Nogojiwanong, Brantford, Carleton Place, Bancroft, Almonte, Combermere & Smiths Falls.
What is the Digital Story?
The Countdown Digital Story is an online archive and presentation of the stories recorded, artworks created, and relationships built since the project took off in 2016. This Digital Story currently holds the contributions of Countdown participants from 2016 - 2022.
Also included in the Digital Story are participant contributions from the Renfrew County Inquest Public Art Response (2022). This project was direct response to the 2015 femicide of three women in the Ottawa Valley region and the Coroner of Ontario’s Inquest into this tragedy which took place in June 2022. Both Countdown and the RCI Public Art Response are rooted in action to end gender-based violence through art-making and community-building.
Offered as part of both Countdown and RCI Public Art Response community-engagement activities, Elder & Storykeeper Roberta Della-Picca hosted Fireside Chats: Fireside Chats are conversations, audio-recorded with participant consent, which include discussion about participants' experience with the project/s and reflections on personal and community impact. Audio recordings from these fireside chats have been shaped into videos that bring alive the people and places working to build cultures of consent in their communities.
Click, Zoom, and Drag the map around to explore all monuments locations in Ontario!
Alongside the artmaking and community-engagement events of the project, an integral element to Countdown is a robust set of evaluation activities and approaches. Our evaluation activities have been employed as a means of identifying the impacts of the project at personal, community, and provincial levels; assessing hopes, expectations, and experienced outcomes from all involved; and formally documenting feedback and suggestions so that we may continue to present a project that is responsive to and guided by the needs of community members.
The current report spans Countdown projects that took place between November 2020 and October 2021 in Lanark County (Almonte) and North Hastings (Bancroft), Ontario. It is the first of two reports being produced over a 3-year funding period from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
The report includes survey findings, partner interview summaries, participant quotes and more, and can be viewed, shared, and downloaded at the following links:
UPCOMING: In Winter 2024, a comprehensive 3-year report spanning 2020-2023 will be produced and released to the public.
Unscripted: KINSHIP Podcast
On June 13th, 2022, four members of the Countdown Public Art Project were featured on the inaugural episode of Unscripted: KINSHIP. In this episode, the Countdown artists discuss the value of trust and relationship building within community arts, Indigenous teachings on the storykeeping nature of stones, as well as the unique challenges faced by survivors, and the people who work to support them, living in rural areas.
This 50 minute podcast episode, featuring Lead Artists Anna Camilleri & Tristan R. Whiston, Elder & Storykeeper Roberta Della-Picca, and Lanark County Interval House & Community Support (LCIHCS) Executive Director Erin Lee, provides an in-depth account of the inner workings of Countdown; its beginnings, challenges, impacts, and hopes for the future.
Listen to the full 50 minute episode on Youtube:
This episode is also available via Apple Podcasts:
WHO WE ARE
Countdown is produced and led by ReDefine Arts with local leadership and community and civic partners.
ReDefine Arts (established in 2005 as Red Dress Productions) is an interdisciplinary arts organization that roots itself in artistic practices which embed and cultivate social engagement and collaboration. Working with and within a network of community partnerships, RDA creates opportunities for art-making, presentation, and mentorship that advance disability justice, collective liberation, and artistic innovation. We are part of an ecosystem of cultural producers who believe that art is necessary and is a reflexive tool for world-building and (re)imagination. RDA is based in Toronto, Treaty 13 Territory, with programming hubs and projects across Ontario.
We gratefully acknowledge project funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, operating funding from the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council, and additional support from EVA-Renfrew County, without which this work would not be possible.
Countdown Story website design by: Wy Joung Kou, 2023