Virgin Mobile RE*Generation Unveils Custom Curated Art

Creator of the Lovebot and Love Invasion Matthew Del Degan poses with young artists from Toronto-based community arts enterprise SKETCH in front of the mural they created for Virgin Mobile's new Queen Street West store. (CNW Group/Virgin Mobile Canada)

Virgin Mobile RE*Generation connects local artist with youth to spread love across Toronto

TORONTO, July 25, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Virgin Mobile RE*Generation unveiled a custom piece of art at its new Virgin Mobile retail location on Queen Street West. The mural was created by Matthew Del Degan, the Toronto-based artist known for the Lovebot and Love Invasion, in collaboration with young artists engaged at SKETCH, a community arts enterprise that creates opportunities for young people living homeless.

Virgin Mobile RE*Generation is Virgin Mobile's pro-social initiative dedicated to empowering a generation to help its own. This movement creates opportunities for at-risk and homeless youth to develop skills that help them emerge from the cycle of homelessness. The 11' x 12' mural was developed through a series of working sessions between Del Degan and young artists from SKETCH. It was commissioned to celebrate Virgin Mobile's new Toronto store at 680 Queen Street West and is inspired by the local Queen West community and Virgin Mobile RE*Generation.

"At Virgin Mobile, we're always looking for ways to give at-risk and homeless youth in Canada opportunities to break out of the cycle of homelessness," says Joseph Ottorino, managing director, Virgin Mobile Canada. "We've teamed up with SKETCH, Matthew and the Love Invasion to shine a light on issues impacting at-risk and homeless youth in Toronto. Installing this mural in our store also gave us a way to contribute to the vibrant Queen West culture."

Founded in 2010, Del Degan's Love Invasion involves the placement of more than 100 hand-cast concrete Lovebots throughout Toronto. Lovebot's mission is simple: to raise awareness and reinforce the idea that we are all part of a community, and in turn, spread love and compassion to our neighbours, friends, family, co-workers and fellow citizens. In addition to the Virgin Mobile RE*Generation mural collaboration, Del Degan has created two custom Lovebots for Virgin Mobile's newest retail locations at 680 Queen Street West and 2493 Yonge Street to remind us to do good in our daily lives.

"I am thrilled to have teamed up with Virgin Mobile RE*Generation," says Matthew Del Degan, artist. "Like the Lovebot, I hope this mural creates an uplifting experience for Torontonians reminding them that there is magic in their city and love around every corner."

Because of its 18 year presence in the Queen West neighbourhood and its mission to engage young people through the arts, SKETCH was a perfect partner for Virgin Mobile RE*Generation and an ideal artistic voice to collaborate with Del Degan on this project.

"SKETCH is excited to partner with Virgin Mobile, an organization that not only knows how crucial it is to break down the many barriers youth face, but actively collaborates with and listens to these young people as well," says Phyllis Novak, Founder and Artistic Director of SKETCH. "As a longtime resident of the Queen West community, SKETCH happily welcomes Virgin Mobile to the neighbourhood, and we look forward to future collaborations."

How you can help

Youth across Canada are at risk. With a lack of jobs and opportunities available for Canadian youth, the time to act is now. Here are a few ways to help:

  1. Get a phone that does some good: Buy the Samsung GALAXY S5 from Virgin Mobile and $15 is donated to Virgin Mobile RE*Generation and used to create opportunities and experiences that help youth emerge from the cycle of homelessness.

  2. Change For A Dollar: Virgin Mobile gives its Members the opportunity to donate to Virgin Mobile RE*Generation monthly, by adding one dollar to their existing plan through the Change for a Dollar program. These funds go to leading youth-serving agencies throughout Canada.

  3. Text-to-donate: Canadians can at any time donate $5 to Virgin Mobile RE*Generation by texting REGEN to 30333.

About Virgin Mobile RE*Generation
In 2008 Virgin Mobile Canada and Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, joined forces to create Virgin Mobile RE*Generation to empower a generation to help its own and support at-risk and homeless youth. This movement is committed to creating new opportunities and experiences for at-risk and homeless youth across the country to help them emerge out of the cycle of homelessness. To date, more than $2.5 million has been raised and dispersed to leading youth serving agencies across the country from programs such as Change For A Dollar, Text to Donate, the RE*Generation phone and ongoing benefit concerts.

Join Virgin Mobile RE*Generation to help youth emerge from the cycle of homelessness. Visit www.virginmobile.ca/regen for more information.

About Virgin Mobile Canada
At Virgin Mobile, you're not a customer, you're a Member and "Members Get" exclusive deals from awesome brands, a shot at VIP access and one-of-a-kind experiences to events in Canada and around the world. That's on top of super-hot smartphones on ridiculously-fast LTE speeds and plans with loads of extras built right in! Virgin Mobile Members and Canadians can do some good in their local communities by helping empower at-risk and homeless youth in Canada with Virgin Mobile RE*Generation.

Wanna hook up? There are loads of ways, head online or call 1-888-999-2321 to get in the know. Get personal with Virgin Mobile Canada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

About SKETCH
Founded in 1996, SKETCH is recognized locally, provincially, and nationally for its unique, capacity-focused approach to youth engagement and organizing through the arts. As a community arts enterprise, SKETCH engages young people who live homeless or on the margins to experience the transformative power of the arts, to build leadership and self-sufficiency in the arts, and to cultivate social and environmental change through the arts. 

About Matthew Del Degan
Matthew Del Degan is an artist and designer from Toronto Canada. Born and raised in Toronto, urban life has been influential on his work. Del Degan studied Industrial Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design (U) while also running his own studio on Toronto's west side. While Del Degan has a complex portfolio of completed and ongoing projects in areas like contemporary art and product design, his most popular work is the Lovebot icon that changed physical and mental landscape of Toronto and has now spawned a global movement known as the "Global Love Invasion." Matthew and his team now spends their time managing the movement. To learn more, have a look at Del Degan's blog, or visit his Lovebot website at www.lovebot.com.

SOURCE Virgin Mobile Canada

Image with caption: "Creator of the Lovebot and Love Invasion Matthew Del Degan poses with young artists from Toronto-based community arts enterprise SKETCH in front of the mural they created for Virgin Mobile's new Queen Street West store. (CNW Group/Virgin Mobile Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140725_C2950_PHOTO_EN_4489.jpg

For further information: Sheryl Davey Kerametlian, Virgin Mobile Canada, 416-607-8412, sheryl.davey@virginmobile.ca