It Takes a Community to Build the Story - CODAworx

It Takes a Community to Build the Story

Submitted by Philippa French


Location: Mississauga, ON, Canada

Completion date: 2022

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team


Jay Havens

Public Art Curator

Philippa French


Stadia Glass and Door


In conversation with community members and theatre users, artist Jay Havens created this dynamic storyboard artwork, which spans 50 feet across the bulkhead in the newly renovated Meadowvale Theatre lobby in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

The artwork celebrates how community comes together to create performance events. Different aspects of theatre production are highlighted across the artwork – from performers doing a curtain call, a group of scriptwriters, directors, and dramaturges, to a carpenter, technician, and a stitcher.

The artwork speaks strongly to the local area and Indigenous culture, providing a Territory Acknowledgement at one end, visible right when you walk into the theatre, and views of the Credit River and Lake Ontario in the background of the artwork throughout the piece.


The goals of the project were to:
- Engage community members to create artwork that reflected the diversity of the City of Mississauga and the theatre's users and patrons;
- To contribute to the redevelopment of the theatre as a high quality cultural hub and prestigious event venue that supports and engages emerging artists; and
- To improve the customer experience in the facility by creating an atmosphere of inspiration, creativity, vibrancy, and wonder


Jay Havens conducted focus groups with theatre users and visitors to learn more about their experience of the space, the history of the theatre, and the types of activities that go on there. He then used this, along with other contextual information about the area, to design the artwork. The City's public art and facilities management team worked with fabricators to backprint the artwork onto the glass panels which were then installed around the lobby bulkhead.

Additional Information

Jay Havens (he/him/they) is a multi-media 2Spirit artist, educator, and collaborator of Kanien’keha’ka and Scottish Canadian ancestry. Havens was born on Haudenosaunee Territory known as the Haldimand Tract and raised on Unceded Sto:lo and Musqueam lands close to Vancouver, Canada. As a professional stage and costume designer, "It Takes a Community to Build the Story" celebrates a field of work that the artist has been involved in for over twenty years. Photos by Tori Lambermont and Adam Pulicicchio