Do you ever think your subway trip could use a little more creativity? Starting this month, you can view a variety of artwork from emerging artists in TTC stations across the city. 

To address the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on women of colour, local arts organization VIBE Arts introduced Desire Lines: Womxn’s Work, a program providing mentorship and career growth opportunities to BIPOC women artists. The artists selected range from photographers to graphic designers to multidisciplinary artists.

Desiree McKenzie, one of the featured artists, is an award-winning spoken word poet, photographer, and teaching artist. “The opportunity to exhibit my work on the TTC feels very empowering. It’s awesome being able to express myself on such a large scale as it deepens the impact my work can have, and all the walks of life it can reach,” she told VIBE Arts. “This is a great example of how as an artist, you never fully know what your impact could be – but that’s the beautiful thing about it. There are infinite possibilities.”


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RBC Desire Lines began in 2019, and has since given two cohorts of emerging artists the opportunity to exhibit their artwork in the city’s subway stations. Artists in the program have the opportunity to connect with mentors and build skills while creating these significant public art pieces. This year, some of the Desire Lines artists are also offering their own free workshops for the community in the coming weeks.

Karyin Qiu, an artist and self-empowerment advocate, will be leading Inner Vision, a series of workshops that instruct participants to use poetry, mindfulness, vision boards, and other tools for self-expression and self-care. 

Interior decor artist Nyaomi will be leading a series of Mark Making workshops for children ages 9-12 to explore self-expression. Mark making is an activity that uses drawing and painting techniques to leave an impression on a surface. “It’s funny that in creating the workshop, I realized that I also needed to revisit the basics of mark-making for my own art practice/growth,” Nyaomi told VIBE Arts. “A great reminder to keep things simple. There’s a lot to be seen/felt/experienced in simplicity.”

You can check out the Desire Lines artwork at Ossington and Spadina stations on the green line, and Osgoode, King, College, and Wellesley stations on the yellow line. The Inner Vision program runs from January 31- February 14, and Mark Making runs from February 1 – February 17.