TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--“Maria,” the city’s newest larger-than-life public art activation in support of The Shoebox Project for Women doesn’t just put the spotlight on the thousands of local women who are experiencing homelessness – it hits very close to home for its artist. His mother once lived in a women’s shelter only blocks away from where the artwork now hangs.
Acclaimed Canadian artist Daniel Mazzone, dubbed the ‘The Next Andy Warhol,’ collaborated with Klick Health to bring the captivating, complexly layered portrait of a strong woman fighting to be heard to life on the front of its Bloor Street headquarters to help bring compassion and dignity to local women experiencing homelessness.
“My mother and I both experienced homelessness at different points in our lives, so this issue is very close to my heart,” Mazzone said. “I believe art has the power to drive meaningful conversation and social change, and I hope that this activation helps challenge people’s misconceptions and brings more understanding and support to women experiencing homelessness.”
A Growing Issue During COVID-19
For women who have been displaced from their homes and are estranged from their families, the holiday season can be particularly challenging. A staggering 6,000+ women and children sleep in shelters on any given night because it isn’t safe at home. According to Statistics Canada 2019 data, emergency shelters for those fleeing gender-based violence were already at capacity before COVID-19 hit, turning away nearly 1,000 women and children each day. And the pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on vulnerable women and girls throughout Canada. Programs and services are seeing a surge in gender-based violence and economic problems, and they’re struggling to meet women’s needs.
“Women make up over a quarter of Canada’s documented homeless population, but thousands more are considered hidden homeless, living in unstable or unsafe situations, and therefore remain uncounted and unsupported,” said Lesley Hendry, Executive Director, The Shoebox Project. “We want to make sure no woman, no matter what their circumstances, feels invisible, alone, or forgotten by their community and
we are incredibly grateful to Daniel and Klick Health for helping to bring our mission to life.”
The four-story philanthropic art activation (measuring over 41 feet wide x 48 feet high) intricately weaves into the portrait a myriad of images of female inventors and women demanding an equal voice, including:
- Dr. Shirley Jackson, the first Black woman with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), whose breakthrough scientific research led to the development of solar cells, fiber optic cables, caller ID, call waiting, and other modern advances.
- Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel toy company and inventor of the “Barbie” doll (1959).
- Grace Hopper, inventor of the first computer language compiler (1952), attributed with having the single largest influence on the success of COBOL (first universal programming language), and for coining the popular computer term ‘bug.’
The activation also kicks off the Toronto-based charity’s holiday fundraising campaign, which is collecting gift-filled Shoebox donations and messages of support, and distributing them to local women impacted by homelessness. The art activation, complete with a QR code, drives passersby to The Shoebox Project website for more information and/or to make donations. A gift from The Shoebox Project is a powerful and rare reminder for a woman that she has not been forgotten and she remains a valued and respected member of her community.
Turning to Art to Inspire Social Change
After supporting The Shoebox Project for five years, Toronto-based health marketing agency Klick Health conceived of the project with hopes of inspiring social change, while enriching the community’s physical environment and commemorating the 10th anniversary of the trailblazing nonprofit.
“We are very proud to announce our title sponsorship of The Shoebox Project and highlight the meaningful work they do,” said Klick’s Chief People Officer Glenn Zujew. “We’re also thrilled to be collaborating with Daniel, whose thought-provoking work weaves together a powerful story about finding humanity in the face of adversity. It’s a theme that’s become especially relevant through the pandemic, drives everything we do here at Klick, and we’re hoping it helps make the holiday season a bit brighter for those in need.”
The activation can be viewed in-person outside Klick’s Toronto headquarters at 175 Bloor Street East (just east of Yonge Street at Church Street) through the end of the year. It can also be viewed online at https://www.shoeboxproject.ca/holiday.
About Klick Health
Klick Health is the world’s largest independent commercialization partner for life sciences. For over two decades, Klick has been laser-focused on developing, launching, and supporting life sciences brands to maximize their full market potential. Klick was named a Large Agency of the Year for both 2020 and 2021 by Medical Marketing + Media (MM+M), marking 10 Agency of the Year industry awards in 10 years. Follow Klick Health on Twitter at @KlickHealth. For more information on joining Klick, go to careers.klick.com/.
About Klick Group
The Klick Group of companies – Klick Health (including Klick Katalyst), Klick Media Group, Klick Applied Sciences (including Klick Labs), Klick Consulting, Klick Ventures, and Sensei Labs – is an ecosystem of brilliant talent collectively working to maximize their people and clients’ full potential. Established in 1997, Klick has teams in New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, and across North America. Klick has consistently been named a Best Managed Company and Great Place to Work. In 2020, the company was recognized with 14 Best Workplace awards, including Best Workplaces for Women, Best Workplaces for Inclusion, Employee-Recommended Workplaces, Most Admired Corporate Cultures, and FORTUNE’s Best Places to Work in New York.
About The Shoebox Project
The Shoebox Project for Women is a national registered charity that is dedicated to sharing empathy, kindness and compassion with local women impacted by homelessness through the collection and distribution of gift-filled Shoeboxes and messages of support. Each thoughtfully-curated and festively-decorated Shoebox is filled with a variety of items that intend to make a person feel special and cared for. This year, The Shoebox Project is proudly celebrating its 10th Anniversary!