In Search of…SPACE

The Eighth Street Skatepark is a vibrant hub for local skaters of all levels to gather. Its diverse collection of murals in many colours and styles is a reflection of the dynamic energy of the community. Street art is an integral part of skate culture, and Ian Gabriel’s mural ‘BeYOUtiful Energy,’ featuring a female samurai warrior and a dragon-wolf, represents the fierce power and positivity found in the local scene

Eighth Street SkatePark

Various artists
Mural | 2017-2020
160 Eighth St | Etobicoke

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In Search Of… Prompts

How do you think the murals have transformed this skatepark?

Do you believe that murals or public art can change neighbourhoods? How?

What impact does diversity and representation within the murals have on your feelings of belonging at the skatepark?

A skatepark is a free, outdoor, youth-centred public space. Can you think of other places that youth can hang out that are free and welcoming to youth?

In Search of… Conversation

Join ‘BeYOUtiful Engery’ muralist, Ian Gabriel, and fellow skater and place-maker Jay Phillips of DIY Skate Toronto, as they talk about the importance of art and community in skateboarding. Be sure to watch the video to see them flex their skills at the 8th Street Skate Park!”

Watch. Listen. Read.

video and audio coming soon...

Video Transcript coming soon…

In conversation with

Ian Gabriel, Muralist & Graphic Designer

My story starts with my time as a student at Humber College, learning many new skills excelling in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Premiere. During that same time, in search of my own personal self identity I also began my journey as an Urban Artist, self taught I had gained strong skills in painting, character designing, lettering and much more.

Continuing my years full of passion to grow, with a keen eye for creative/ visual design and aesthetics, I’ve continued to try and push my career as a professional artist & designer over the last 8 years. I value family, sustainability, self love and hope that I may one day be able to transfer my knowledge to the next generation.

Jay Phillips, Founder of DIY Skate Toronto

Jay Phillips (they/them) aka pothound, is a queer, trans, Scarborough born, Trinidadian raised Space Maker, Producer, Skater, DJ, and Sound Nerd living in Toronto. An organizer in the skate community, Jay is involved through Christie Pit’s Grrrl’s skate and their own event, DIY Skate TO. They can be found across the few skateparks Toronto calls its own.

Thank you to our funders and partners

In Search Of… received grant funding as a part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022, a year-long celebration of Toronto’s exceptional public art collection and the creative community behind it. Working closely with artists and Toronto’s arts institutions, ArtworxTO will deliver major public art projects and commissions, citywide, from fall 2021 to fall 2022. Supporting local artists and new artworks that reflect Toronto’s diversity, ArtworxTO is creating more opportunities for citizens to engage with art in their everyday lives. This September, the City of Toronto invites the public to discover creativity and community–everywhere. Visit for full details.

In Search Of… is a Signature Project of Cultural Hotspot produced in partnership with the City of Toronto.