ArtworxTO Partnership Grant Projects
The following projects were awarded ArtworxTO Partnership Grants after a competitive process in the fall of 2020. These projects are a key component in the year of programming, signalling the City’s commitment to the value of creativity and community in building a vibrant, diverse and thriving city.
A Longer Story
Lauren Pirie with Phillip Aaron Pax, Karin de Wolfe, Emma Chorostecki, Natalie Boustead and youth mentees
A site-specific installation, incorporating a large-scale tiered planter structure with illuminated soft sculptural elements. Soft sculptural forms, glowing from within, will wrap around and embrace a sculptural planter structure hosting plant species. This piece aims to illuminate inherent interconnectedness—between human and human and to our shared environment—and at the same time, a yearning for connection. It will explore how desire for human connection and physical touch intertwines with a desire for physical and spiritual connection to the earth.
Coming Summer 2022.
The Ark is a boat, a chapel, a passageway, a mirror, and a memorial. This installation is a space of memory, personal accountability, and of future visioning, reflecting Canada’s colonial legacy.
The Brotherhood FUBU (For Us, By Us)
A two-part project that confronts gender dynamics and the ways in which racialized bodies navigate public space. Toronto-based artist Esmaa Mohamoud’s massive photographic mural and urban monument will challenge ideas of intimacy and vulnerability to focus on the closeness and fragility of Black men.
Built on Genocide
Launching September 22, 2021 at Harbourfront Centre.
A large-scale installation reflecting the events and policies throughout Canada's history that have deliberately undermined and destroyed Indigenous livelihood. The project addresses an underacknowledged but foundational aspect of “Canadian” history: the direct correlation between the genocide of the buffalo and the genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
What does it mean to align oneself in space and time? Chalking deconstructs a body’s rotational possibilities - turning, spinning - into a vocabulary of tension and resistance, inscribing absence at the very heart of the body’s presence with others. A performance and 4 channel video installation, Chalking offers a material grid that stages the politics of dance, of what it means to align oneself in absence, in the presence of others.
As a constant fixture in Queen West neighbourhoods since the 1990s, Elicser's artwork articulates the community’s soul, creates points of connection, and is a core driver of dynamic exchanges flowing from his work. The new mural will be a collage of soft characters and organic shapes, emphasizing those who build the true warmth in any community, those who create that love story and heart in any city: its people.
STEPS believes public art has the ability to challenge the systemic inequities that exist in public space. This is the inspiration that led STEPS to launch the CreateSpace BIPOC Public Art Residency, a national program designed in consultation with advisors from coast to coast, to provide emerging BIPOC artists with the skills, relationships and practical experience needed to take their public art practice to the next level. 10 artists from across Canada were selected to participate with 5 located in Toronto, including: Yasmeen Nematt Alla, Jieun June Kim, Amanda Lederle, Charmaine Lurch, and NUFF.
Dish Dances will be the latest work within Talking Treaties: a research-based arts project created by Ange Loft, in collaboration with many other contributors, that explores and shares the layered history of treaties that govern the land on which Toronto exists, and examines ideas of acknowledgement and treaty responsibility. The piece will be presented as a short art film screened as part of the Toronto Biennial of Art, and through a live community event or activities.
With Covid-19 having affected all facets of day to day life, the disability community has all but disappeared from public spaces, discourse, and policy decisions. Dis/Play is a project that shines a light on disabled people telling their own stories, woven into a multi-media display projected across Tkaronto, with original musical accompaniment and embracing disability aesthetics.
Dupont Street Mural
Troy Lovegates (aka Other)
The site location on Dupont holds a long-standing creativity-centred history, a place where stuff was made. Dupont continues to vibrantly grow evolving its connections within the rich creative goodness of its past. Lovegates will work with local community organizations to identify best engagement practices to select a local portrait model.
This project is sponsored by: CollecDev
Expressway is an online digital video installation that aims to re-signify our relationship with one of Toronto’s main arteries: The Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway. Once a symbol of progress, this massive, artificial frontier both connects while dividing our ever-growing city. Lines that were drawn for some, now create uncertainty and disarray for many. In this web experience we witness the impact of our modern borderlines, exposing current challenges caused by private modes of transportation and their footprint. Also, it allows us—who cross them—to look up and share an undivided vision for our waterfront’s future.
Fire by Trial
MABELLEarts with artists Val Vint, Leah Houston, Janna Levitt, Nicolette Felix
A community-engaged public art project collaboration with Mabelle Avenue resident groups. The project involves designing a cooking fire and meeting place in the centre of Mabelle Park that begins a dialogue between the currently unknown history of First Nations activity and presence in what’s now the Mabelle Park and the various culinary cultural practices currently at home there.
Rui Mateus Amaral and Paul P.
This project revisits one of Toronto’s socially provocative, yet least known, works of public art: Garden Court by Scott Burton at Brookfield Place. Burton was celebrated for art that leant inflections of queerness, and a spirit of generosity, to the cool austerity of minimalism. Though Burton died of AIDS before its completion, Garden Court was meant as a place to sit, sunbathe, snack, or chat. Through a free publication, audio guide and performance, this project invites Torontonians to join in the excavation of something immense and in plain sight. Most importantly, it invites citizens to enjoy a storied spot in our city designed for them.
A monumental public mural intentionally placed in Yorkville to challenge the status quo. With the continuous calls for justice against racial, cultural, and gender-based violence, discrimination, hate crimes, abuses of authority, and wrongful displacements across nations, we assert the notion of alliance, humanity and togetherness—reinforcing the power and influence of love.
The Guest's Shadow
Beginning in Fall 2021 - A series of ten activations that take the dreamlike form of glowing picnics. Appearing after sunset for a couple of hours in various publicly accessible locations in Toronto, these light installations will be comprised of lanterns which mimic picnic items such as casseroles and lemonade. The lanterns will be printed from photographs the artists take of real food they prepare, using recipes sourced from the community, via an open call. Lanterns will be given away on the final night.
Healing Corridor and Playable Road Mural
A collaboration between Nyle Miigizi Johnston (Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation), Monica Wickeler (Luxembourg) and The Laneway Project. The project transformed two neglected public laneways into beautiful, welcoming shared neighbourhood spaces.
House of Bâby
House of Bâby is a 35’ lenticular image. As the viewer moves, eighteen people come into focus from the blurred crowd. They represent eighteen of the Black and Indigenous people who were enslaved by the Bâby family in Toronto, Windsor and Detroit. Their unpaid labour produced great wealth for the family. This artwork imagines the group in our contemporary moment, no longer constrained by the past as property nor languishing in the obscurity of the archive. The artists brought this group to life by representing them in this country’s busiest hub. Union Station’s majestic architecture symbolizes stability and civic pride but it is the people who are responsible for its strength.
Intangible Adorations Caravan
An immersive, travelling theatrical & film experience that fuses Carnival with science-fantasy biography, performance ritual, circus and disability culture. When the Caravan rolls into a neighbourhood as darkness falls, mysterious magics will be unleashed in a spectacle suitable for all ages as we attempt to make contact with the Icon, a legendary figure who vanished several years ago. A multi-sensory interactive experience with robust accessibility built into each performance.
Jordan Bennett Mural
Coming May 2022.
Part of an on-going program of Indigenous public art at OCAD U, the project will feature a new mural by Mi’kmaq artist, Jordan Bennett in OCAD University’s Butterfield Park. Rich in shape, colour and composition, his paintings are rooted in a deep history of Mi’kmaq porcupine quillwork. In visiting with these cultural objects Bennett connects with their visual language, remembering and reimagining our relations to each other, to our histories and with the land.
Alongside the outdoor mural, Onsite Gallery will also present a solo exhibition by Jordan Bennett within the gallery.
A network of tours, artists talks and engagements centered around the more than 100 public art pieces that already exist within neighbourhoods throughout Toronto - many created by the local community and artists. These self-guided, digital and guided tours will showcase the amazing public artworks, local businesses and restaurants within the incredible communities that we call home. Check out the full Local Discoveries program here.
MASHUP PON DI ROAD
bahia watson & liza paul, with why not theatre
with their signature blend of vaudeville irreverence and sweet island vibes, ringmasters bahia and liza and their band of misfits proudly present the world’s only travelling bashment circus! spinning you into an absurd carnival universe where big fun, big laughs, and big, black feminism reign supreme MASHUP PON DI ROAD is a variety show extravaganza that rum punches up at the ruling class through fast-paced vignettes, original music and nuff jokes. touching road summer 2022. come one, come all. welcome to di circus.
Making With Place
Based on the Making with Place research project of 2020, this year-long initiative, launched development in January with young 2SQTBIPOC artists navigating marginalization, homelessness and precarity. Considering the complexities of place, artists design, animate and archive hidden, forgotten or invisibilized environmental and social histories, to innovate models of care and community through three immersive and interactive installations. Learn more about these installations at @sketchpublicart.
Our Home and Haunted Land
Oya Black Arts Coalition with Nadine Valcin
Coming February 2022.
Our Home and Haunted Land explores the deep and violent colonial legacy linked to the names of significant spaces in the city. The large-scale projection is an experiential journey that will reveal the hidden histories that haunt our society and make visible the Black and Indigenous presence on Turtle Island, in general and in Tkaronto, in particular.
Five geometric forms have floated into Ontario Place. Animated by the gentle rise and fall of Lake Ontario, this grouping of small icebergs presents a mystery: viewed from all sides, it becomes clear that they are more than merely chunks of ice floating in the hot sun. The ironic use of materials to construct these ‘natural’ forms presents questions for the audience to consider.
The Parkette Projects
Defined as small pieces of leftover or unsaleable land acquired and converted by a city into public common spaces, Toronto's parkettes provide oblique glimpses into the city's socio-political, economic and geographic histories. The Parkette Projects probe the tensions between, and potentials for, changing poetic and political relations between self, body, site, and society through newly commissioned performances and installations.
The Prospect Project
Four youth artists under the mentorship of professional muralist Ryan Dineen take their artistic skills to new heights by creating their own large-scale public art pieces in four communities across Toronto. These murals will be an artistic outlet and amplify the voices of the communities where the artists live while bringing ideas of a brighter future. It concludes by cumulating, like puzzle pieces, in the heart of Downtown Toronto to show the beauty and connection of our city.
SummerWorks with artists Rodney Diverlus, Syrus Marcus Ware, Switch Collective, Action Hero, Mia & Eric, Mark Reinhart
Artists explore possibilities for the public realm through four large-scale projects synthesizing outdoor installation, performance, and extensive public participation with distinct communities across the city. Incorporating collective storytelling, handmade crafts, dance, poetry, visual messages, and much more – Public Works is a city-wide exploration of how the public can connect, communicate, reclaim space, and imagine what else is possible.
Soulpepper Theatre Company with Javid Jah
R.E.A.C.H. consists of a phased process from design through fabrication and installation of six public art installations that reimagine the phone booth. Members of the public will be invited to enter the booth and share a story, hear a story, or call one of the other phone booths and speak to whoever answers. The first stories placed into the booths will be Indigenous perspectives curated by a partner Indigenous artist. These experiential installations weave storytelling, placemaking, and personal interaction in a way that builds understanding, empathy, and human connection.
In Which We Draw a People’s Map of the Don River Valley, by New York-based art collective Mare Liberum, explores the relationship between Toronto’s Lower Don River and its constituents, building a series of boats and visioning plans for the future of the watershed. Presented in partnership with Waterfront Toronto. Curator Candice Hopkins and scholar Dr. Dylan Robinson will lead the knowledge-sharing forum Indigenous Water Protocols, to establish Indigenous-led protocols for creating ethical public art in relationship to waterways and shorelines.
Outside the March, with Philip Cote, Ishai Buchbinder, Nick Blais, Anahita Dehbonehie, Sébastien Heins
For hundreds of years, the Anishinaabe have shaped trees to mark an important route or event. The Seven Fires Prophecy speaks of a new world in which both western and Indigenous ways of understanding will come together. From the earth, veins of colourful cedar rise and intertwine to form a marker tree that resolves as a crystalline branch. Sit. Listen. Ignite. Grow.
Sites of Significance
This immersive digital art project combines public art, technology, and placemaking in Etobicoke. Through Augmented Reality (AR), commissioned artists have identified and animated six sites of historical and cultural importance: two sites in each of the three Etobicoke wards, some of Indigenous significance and some of importance to the Newcomer / Immigrant community. The resulting experience will be unique depending on the artists’ perspective and style, and how audiences choose to engage with the art and site.
State of Emergency
Coming Spring 2022.
March 17, 2020 brought a province-wide state of emergency in response to Covid-19. The City's subsequent decision to limit public park access forced Torontonians to make further sacrifices to slow the spread of the disease. Punter created a photographic diary of people seeking solace in the great outdoors at a time when doing so was being discouraged. The project is a love letter to the city's greenspaces and the people that bring them to life.
Stolen People, Stolen Land
September 17, 24, and October 1, and 8, 2021. Event details.
The stories of diaspora, grief, and survival: films and poems from Black and Indigenous artists, the project presents the similarities of our experiences being colonized and brutalized on our lands. It connects us through our resilience and determination to survive and take back what has always rightfully belonged to us. Stolen People, Stolen Land shows us that there is no Black liberation without Indigenous sovereignty, none of us are free until all of us are free.
Gardiner Museum and Santee Smith
A new commission to honour the ongoing Indigenous presence on Turtle Island, Santee’ Smith's installation "Talking Earth" is an embodied experimental entanglement between forms which honours Haudenosaunee pottery making. It’s a lived encounter with clay, etched from our memory of and from land, ancestors and projected into a present day space. The installation offers a site for education/teachings, contemplation and reconnection to earth. The juxtaposition between traditional inspired material and new media and performance, bridges ancient to present and fracture to intactness.
Toronto Island Postcard
"The Toronto Island Puzzle Tour” is an augmented reality smartphone application which re-creates the Toronto Island’s invisible history. Visitors follow five signposts to collect puzzle pieces through their smartphones for an Island-based guided tour, including the Island's role as an Indigenous place of healing, the Lakeside Home for Little Children, Babe Ruth’s first home run, Manitou Road, and the confrontation with the sheriff in the effort to save Toronto Island homes. After all the pieces are collected, they snap together to become a virtual vintage postcard which points to the feature documentary.
Toronto Park Portraits
Coming Summer 2022.
This public photography portrait project will consider questions of family, belonging and inclusion. Free family portraits will be provided across the city throughout summer 2022. By talking to people about family and belonging in their own neighbourhoods, the project aims to document the complexity of Torontonians’ experiences and to help us understand how the rapid recent changes in our city have affected people across communities.
Unveiling Heroes of the Block
BSAM Canada, curated by Queen Kukoyi & Nico Taylor
Uncovering the buried and lesser-known stories of prominent African Canadian figures that contributed to the foundational fabric of the Toronto we experience today, the project will result in several public art installations celebrating heroes of the Black community. Artists Meighan Morson, Gerda Boateng, Adeyemi Adegbesan, Quentin VerCetty, and Danilo Deluxo create visual interpretations that depict the rich legacies and valiant attributes of each African Canadian figure. Presented in partnership with the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and Heritage Toronto.
Coming Summer 2022.
An experimental mural project that will allow artists and community members of all ages and abilities to experiment with rain-activated paint while co-creating a public artwork along the Ron Moeser Waterfront Trail in Scarborough. Community members will be able to participate in stencil workshops and leave their mark on the mural, while they reflect on the role of water and its importance to them spiritually, mentally, and physically. The resulting public artwork will be “naturally” revealed every time it rains.