Markham Public Art Presents Becoming Public Art: Accessibility


Markham Public Art presents Becoming Public Art: Accessibility

Who is public art, and public space, for? Who is included in the conversation and experience that public art creates? What does it mean to use the idea of “access” as a creative catalyst?

Please join us on Tuesday, November 10, from 1:30 – 3 PM EST for Accessibility, featuring two presentations and a group discussion on the subject of accessibility through the lens of public art projects. Accessibility is the fifth session of Becoming Public Art, a nine-week virtual summit presented by Markham Public Art in partnership with ART+PUBLIC UnLtd.

Paul Amenta, artist and founder of SiTE:LAB;
Christopher Smit and Jill Vyn, co-founders of DisArt;
Maayan Ziv, CEO AccessNow;
Devon Ostrom, curator, artist and advocate

Kevin Buist, independent curator and writer

Artist Paul Amenta, creator of SiTE:LAB, and producers and disability advocates Christopher Smit and Jill Vyn from DisArt (all based in Grand Rapids, MI), have been collaborating on award-winning public art projects since 2015’s DisArt Festival. Their work is driven by a commitment to reorganizing the understanding of accessibility, aesthetics, and community making. In this presentation, titled Access as Art, they will discuss their work, the communities they collaborate with, and their future projects.

In their presentation, Maayan Ziv and Devon Ostrom will talk about their experience mapping 100km of art and trails in Toronto, and their future ideas for improving access to the built environment and how it is shaped. Whereas Devon will touch on institutional constraints to greater access, Maayan will focus on the physical and digital realm, along with the benefits of making spaces more accessible to all users.

The event is free, online, and open to the public. Registration is required, click here.


Paul Amenta is a visual artist working across disciplines, including site-specific installation, architectural intervention, film and video, and large-scale collaborative public projects. Amenta is the founder of SiTE:LAB, and holds an MFA from The School of Visual Arts in New York, and a BFA from Grand Valley State University.

SiTE:LAB is a nomadic all-volunteer artist-led initiative that creates temporary public art projects aimed at facilitating dynamic collaborations between the art, design, education, business, and cultural communities of Grand Rapids.

Christopher Smit and Jill Vyn together co-founded DisArt in 2015, an organization committed to advancing a cultural understanding of Disability. By taking disability out of the space of speculation, mystery, or fear, and placing it in an historical and aesthetic context, DisArt amplifies the voice, visibility, and value of the Disabled community. Through public speaking, publishing, cutting-edge programming, and organizational consulting, Christopher Smit, PhD (University of Iowa), and Jill Vyn, MSW (University of Michigan) have become respected voices throughout the world.

DisArt is a production company and arts and culture organization that focuses on creating public art events that cultivate and communicate a Disabled culture. DisArt believes that expressions of a Disabled cultural identity can transform society from awareness to understanding to belonging, creating a society that enjoys the full and equitable participation of all Disabled people.

Maayan Ziv is an activist, photographer and entrepreneur based in Toronto. From a young age, Maayan challenged norms to increase awareness of disability issues and improve accessibility. Maayan founded and leads the social enterprise, AccessNow, and holds an MA in Digital Media from Ryerson University. She has received the City of Toronto Access Award and the David C. Onley Leadership in Accessibility Award in recognition of her commitment to improving the lives of people of all abilities.

AccessNow is a grassroots social start-up. Our mission is to share accessibility information around the world by mapping as many places as we possibly can—and we invite you to help us! A worldwide community, passionate about change, together we can empower each other to have access now.

Devon Ostrom is an artist and graduate of the London School of Economics. Works include a mural/research project in a maximum security prison and the co-creation of a billboard tax that has raised over $89m for art in Toronto. Along with an MPA (w. distinction in Regulatory Analysis) Devon holds an MA in Curating and is certified in HR and NPO Management. Currently, Devon teaches Cultural Policy and is a Park People Fellow.

Kevin Buist is an independent curator, writer and former Artistic Director of ArtPrize, where he oversaw artists, operations, and design. He holds a MA in Visual and Critical Studies from Kendall College of Art and Design. His writing has been featured in numerous print and online publications, including the Art:21 Blog, where he was a Blogger in Residence, as well as, Michigan Quarterly Review, and

Image 1: CEO Maayan Ziv, Rig #2: Powerchair with 360 camera. (View output: Photo Credit: Devon Ostrom, 2018.
Image 2: Critical Infrastructure, Paul Amenta + Ted Lott + DisArt. Photo credit: Filippo Tagliati.

Becoming Public Art: Working Models and Case Studies for Art in Public is a nine-week virtual summit presented by the City of Markham in partnership with ART+PUBLIC UnLtd. In a series of virtual sessions co-curated by Rebecca Carbin, Principal, ART+PUBLIC UnLtd, and Yan Wu, Public Art Curator, City of Markham, professionals in the field will present the broad range of perspectives that shape public art making today.

For summit details and to subscribe for updates, please visit the summit website.

General inquiries:
Media inquiries: Yan Wu, Markham Public Art Curator