The Countdown Public Art Project is an Ontario-wide arts initiative that engages communities to create 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.
Countdown was launched in 2016 following an invitation from the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County. Since then, over 4,000 people have gathered in large and small groups to imagine and build 13 pebble mosaics across Ontario.
In 2023, the Countdown Public Art Project worked with communities in North Hastings to present Stepping Stones Across The Shield: a series of 120 mosaic stepping stones created during community art workshops co-hosted with local organizational partners who have been integral to the Countdown project since its arrival in North Hastings in 2020.
These mosaic stepping stones succeed 12 others, designed through collaborative, community-engaged processes, and created with communities in Pembroke, Eganville, Killaloe, Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, Peterborough-Nogojiwanong, North Bay, Carleton Place, Brantford, Almonte, Bancroft, Combermere, and Smiths Falls since 2016.
The Countdown Public Art Project also features The Countdown Digital Story: an online archive and presentation of the stories recorded, artworks created, and relationships built since the project’s genesis in 2016. This Digital Story currently holds the contributions of Countdown participants from 2016 - 2023. Also included are participant contributions from the Renfrew County Inquest Public Art Response (2022): an off-shoot of Countdown, this project was a direct response to the 2015 femicide of Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam in the Ottawa Valley region and the Coroner of Ontario’s Inquest which took place in June 2022. Visit the RCI Public Art Response project page to learn more.
Countdown is produced and led by ReDefine Arts with local leadership and community and civic partners. We gratefully acknowledge project funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and operating funding from the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council, without which this work would not be possible.