Hilson Avenue Public School: Celebrating community and a special anniversary through art


Hilson School Council Chair Tara Tosh Kennedy and Principal Lisa Clayton on the site of a unique photography exhibit in the Hilson yard. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

Area residents walking past Hilson Avenue Public school recently may have seen a whole lot of faces staring back at them as they looked into the yard: black and white, two dimensional faces.

The temporary photography display includes photos of students, teachers, support staff, volunteers and other people in the community. It’s part of Hilson’s centennial celebrations and is intended to pay tribute to the connection between the school and its community.

The exhibit is part of a global art project called “Inside Out” that was launched in 2011 by a TED Prize winner and Parisian “photograffeur” known as JR, a street artist who made a name for himself by pasting, graffiti-style, larger-than-life portraits in various locations around the world.

Hilson School Council Chair, Tara Tosh Kennedy, saw JR’s TED talk and “just knew” she had to try this project at Hilson. Tosh took photos of all of the children on photo day and had them printed at Allegra. A team of Hilson adults pasted up prints using wheat paste and rollers on Oct. 29.

“It really is beautiful,” says Hilson Principal Lisa Clayton. “It’s a statement of community and diversity that celebrates the fact that we’ve been part of the community for so long. “

The weather’s effect on the posters will determine how long the installation will last. There is also a rotating display inside the school. [story continues below]


The school will be hosting an open house and anniversary celebration on Nov. 26, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with memorabilia, performances, and local speakers. For info go to hilsonaveps.ocdsb.ca or the Hilson Avenue Centennial Celebrations page on Facebook.

Readers interested to learn more about JR’s “Inside Out Project” can find more information at insideoutproject.net. To see the TED talk that inspired this project, view the video below.


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