Sometimes little things can make people think about the bigger issues, and we think artist Sean Martindale’s recent project 'Outside the Planter' displays this sentiment pretty well. Martindale called out to local artists, designers and gardeners and asked them to pay some attention to their neglected local street planters and revitalize them with their own unique installation. What resulted was a range of fun and thoughtful Outside the Planter interventions that collectively formed 30 citywide installations in a 24-hour period. Each planter box seems to call out to people in a different way, and asks them to reconsider their everyday environments, if even only a little.
Tree planters are often placed on the streets with good intentions of adding a necessary boost of green space, yet they can often become neglected within large sprawling cities where no one takes direct responsibility. Martindale hopes that his Outside the Planter projects encourage people to have more direct participation and interest in their shared public spaces. As he states:
“We all have stakes in our shared environments, and this public project directly engages with Toronto’s urban fabric. One of the primary intents of the Outside the Planter Boxes project is to encourage more direct participation and interest in our shared public spaces – to demonstrate that the public can play a more consciously active role in how our city is shaped.”
The project was supported by a Toronto FEAST Grant and Sean asked participants not to cause any major permanent damage as the installations were not authorized by the City of Toronto. However, you can only hope that they would be viewed as constructive interventions, as opposed to destructive by the local authorities.