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Alexis Kane Speer

Executive Director

STEPS Initiative

Direct Phone: (647) ***-****       

Email: a***@***.com

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STEPS Initiative

C/O The Centre For Social Innovation 720 Bathurst Street

Toronto, Ontario M5S 2R5


Company Description

STEPS is an award winning public arts organization that has been responsible for some of Canada's most iconic works-including the World's Tallest Mural, located in downtown Toronto in which they have engaged thousands of Torontonians. Their social enterpr ... more

Find other employees at this company (52)

Background Information

Employment History

Associate Manager of Evaluation

Toronto Enterpise Fund



Sustainable Thinking

Advisory Board of the Neighbourhood Arts Network
Toronto Arts Council

Adult Committee
Delisle Youth Services Art Gallery



Geography & Planning

University of Toronto

Masters of Arts

Department of Geography and Planning


York University

Web References (41 Total References)

"I've always been passionate about art ... [cached]

"I've always been passionate about art for community building and social change," - #UofT grad Alexis Kane Speer, founder of STEPS Initiative, an award winning public arts organization.

Alexis Kane ... [cached]

Alexis Kane Speer.

STEPS Initiative founder Alexis Kane Speer on promoting art in the city.
For Alexis Kane Speer, community engagement starts with a brush stroke.
The U of T grad started STEPS Initiative, the award winning public arts organization behind eye-catching projects like the eight storey mural at Yonge and St. Clair avenues by British artist Phlegm.
"I've always been passionate about art for community building and social change," says Speer, who completed her undergrad in urban studies and sociology, and a Master's degree in geography and planning from U of T.
Her passion took her to Indonesia where she spent time with artists who used their craft as an outlet for activism. A North American road trip, in partnership with Toronto's Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), helped her find grassroots initiatives in Canada and the United States where people were reclaiming public space through creativity.
Speer felt like it was a disservice not to put this newfound knowledge into practice in Toronto. So in 2011, with the help of CSI, she founded STEPS, a charitable organization that takes on small and large scale public art projects.
STEPS' well-known art installation called the "World's Tallest Mural," Photo: AshtonPal via Flickr
STEPS' well-known art installation called the "World's Tallest Mural," Photo: AshtonPal via Flickr
"It feels good to be able to see the change that we're involved in and see it visually on any mark we leave on the city in terms of public art, but also socially when we're able to work in neighbourhoods that aren't already oversaturated with other community groups doing similar work," says Speer.
STEPS has made strong connections with Toronto communities like Thorncliffe Park and St. James Town, says Speer, with an emphasis on engaging young residents.
"[They are] two neighbourhoods that haven't historically had access to welcoming, vibrant public spaces," she says.
It was in St. James Town where STEPS completed one of their biggest - and tallest - projects: the World's Tallest Mural in 2013. They saw the 32-storey social housing building at the corner of Wellesley and Sherbourne as a blank canvas, transforming its fa├žade into a soaring phoenix.
"That's a reflection of the youth we worked with who felt like the neighbourhood was quite grey and didn't reflect the vibrancy of local residents," says Speer.
And yes, the year it was completed - at least unofficially - Guinness World Records did confirm its record-breaking claim, Speer says.
"We did a considerable amount of community engagement where we connected with hundreds of community members to identify local landmarks and feelings they conjured when they think of the area," says Speer.

Alexis Kane Speer, Founding ... [cached]

Alexis Kane Speer, Founding Director, the STEPS Initiative 647-999-0213 or

"These industries haven't historically ... [cached]

"These industries haven't historically been involved with art, so they come to us," said Alexis Speer, founding director of STEPS. "Construction is not something we all enjoy seeing so this work gives builders a chance to make art that benefits the community."

Since 2014, developers in Toronto are required by law to make 50 per cent of the boarding around construction sites available for community artwork.
However, many building projects were started before the bylaw and were exempted from the requirement. Fortunately, Speer said there's been a lot of momentum in the last few months.

Who We Are [cached]

Alexis Kane Speer

Alexis Kane Speer
Founding Director. Inspired daily by the city and the people who bring it to life, Alexis has a wealth of experience leading community-based public art, space and capacity building initiatives and has received numerous awards recognizing her work as a city builder. She has an MA in Geography & Planning from the University of Toronto.
Alexis Kane Speer
Alexis Kane Speer
Founding Director, The STEPS Initiative

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