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 Place to Put Your Things
Sandra Brewster at The Power Plant
This new sculpture, A Place to Put Your Things, is the Sandra Brewster’s first public artwork. As Brewster describes it, the piece invites participants to “a place to rest and be at peace, to unburden oneself, and simply sway at one’s own pace and rhythm. Play being a central element of the work, the sculpture connects to an inner child and can be engaged by children and adults alike.” Facing Lake Ontario, the swing gives new purpose to the location in which it is installed, and its movements can be felt from both near and far.
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.
A vessel. A threshold. A space for reflection.
Nigerian Canadian artist Oluseye Ogunlesi explores Canada’s role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade through his installation Black Ark. Referencing the slave ships that were built in Canada, this cathedral-like structure invites you into the hull of a ship, creating passage and revealing the fractured and erased history of enslavement in Canada. Built of wood, metal and found materials, Black Ark is an invitation to look back and move forward.
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.
Jumblies Theatre + Arts with Ange Loft, Alaska B, Amplified Opera and Centre for Indigenous Theatre.
Composition for Talking Treaties by Melody McKiver with Rosary Spence performed by Amplified Opera Co-Founders Asitha Tennekoon, Teiya Kasahara and Marion Newman. Complete credits at talkingtreaties.ca
The latest work within Talking Treaties, a research-based arts project, DISH DANCES reanimates the Credit River, a place of council watching over the Dish with One Spoon agreement. Presented as an art film and live movement workshops in partnership with Toronto Biennial of Art and Historic Fort York, complimented by pop-up installations of wearable sculpture, historic text, and video at Jumblies Theatre + Arts.
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.
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.
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.
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
Muralpi'tawita'iek: we go up river
Coming June 15, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Camal Pirbhai and Camille Turner, with photographer Koray Erkaya
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.
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.
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.
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
May 20 - 22, 2022
Sponsored by the Waterfront BIA, created by Nadine Valcin and Priam Givord produced by Ngardy Conteh George & Alison Duke of OYA Black Arts Coalition, Our Home and Haunted Land is a large-scale 2D projection made to explore the colonial legacy linked to key landmarks in our city. Located along the Toronto Harbourfront at the Canada Malting Silo at Queens Quay and Bathurst, the ten minute visual journey reveals the hidden histories that haunt us and make visible the Black and Indigenous presence on Turtle Island and Tkaronto. The stories will be projected nightly from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Five geometric forms have somehow floated into this urban setting. Animated by the gentle breeze of the square, 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 used to construct these 'natural' forms and their unlikely presence in the heart of the city presents questions about the environment 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 places we
once were are
Tea Base, InnerGenerational: Trauma & Healing, Tam
58 Cecil Centre Ave – Saturdays May 14 (12pm-4pm) & 21 (12pm-4pm) and 222 Chinatown Centre (courtyard) – Sundays May 8 (12pm-8pm) & 29 (12pm-4pm)
“the places we
once were are” hopes to gather in celebration of community by doing what we do best; a shared meal with mahjong and music. As Tea Base will be closing its physical space at the end of May, these events are offerings of gratitude. We invite you to create lasting memories with us through queering Chinatown, once more – until next time.
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 is engaging with projects by Rodney Diverlus, Syrus Marcus Ware, Switch Collective, Action Hero, Mia & Eric, Mark Reinhart
Explore possibilities for the public realm through 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.
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.
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.
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.