Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival kicked off its 20th anniversary season at the AGO this morning trumpeting an impressive line-up of Canadian and international artists including Thomas Ruff, Alec Soth, Vikky Alexander, Barbara Astman, Angela Grauerholz, Rodney Graham, Raymond Boisjoly, Mickalene Thomas, Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, to name a few. In recognition of the milestone anniversary, this year’s CONTACT features 20 primary exhibitions, 20 free public installations and over 200 events throughout the city. Pictured above is CONTACT Artistic Director Bonnie Rubenstein.
On November 12-14, the 2015 Emergence Symposium touched down at the Evergreen Brick Works and Toronto Centre For the Arts. Organized by the Neighbourhood Arts Network, the three-day, facilitated conference brought together more than 200 community leaders, artists, cultural workers, academics, youth and policy makers to address important questions on equity, diversity and inclusiveness.
The symposium’s stated goad is to use community-engaged arts as a launch pad to create a place for critical dialogue, leadership development, mentorship and cross-sector collaborations. Participants left the three-day event with an improved understanding of how to deal with equity in their own practice and make positive changes in their communities.
Nuit Blanche 10 may be a sweet memory but there’s one extended project that keeps on giving. Co-Produced by the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and The City of Toronto, the exhibition of artist An Te Liu’s Solid States (2015) has revived the moribund Toronto Sculpture Garden and will remain on show until next month, possibly longer.
The popular Sculpture Garden, on King Street East across from St. James Cathedral, has been fallow since last year, following the end of a 35-year lease agreement between the City of Toronto, which owns the property, and the Odette Foundation, brainchild of late philanthropist, Lou Odette. The arrangement was complicated – suffice it to say that following the death of Odette in 2011, enthusiasm for the Sculpture Garden wilted.
“Looking back at the arrangement it’s something we probably couldn’t do today,” says Terry Nicholson, Director of the City’s Arts & Culture Services. “A private developer proposed fixing up a derelict city property (La Maquette restaurant) in exchange for being able to run it and then use the revenue to fund the sculpture garden exhibits. Its conception was visionary. And Rina Greer, who was hired to direct the Sculpture Garden, did a tremendous job for 30 years.”
When an event starts counting its age in double digits, well that’s a cause for celebration! For Nuit Blanche, this weekend’s anniversary marks a decade of artistic innovation and popularity that has seen it become one of Canada’s largest and most anticipated annual cultural events.
So how will you celebrate this event beyond participating in it from sunset to sunrise on October 3? Here are some suggestions for how to put the cap on a great decade of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche . . .
Can it really be 10 years since that magical first Nuit Blanche took the city by surprise? What started in 2006 as an artistic free-for-all attracting 425,000 curiosity seekers has grown into a must-see event with an estimated attendance exceeding one million, including close to 200,000 out-of-town visitors.
The event, which kicks off this Saturday (Oct. 3) at 7 pm, has hosted internationally acclaimed artists and curators such as Ai Weiwei (2013), Douglas Coupland (2012), Jeff Koons (2009) and Yoko Ono (2008). This year, world renowned artist, JR will transform City Hall and Bay Street (see below).
So what can Torontonians expect this Saturday? Nuit Blanche Toronto will present four curated exhibitions including HTUOS/ HTRON The New Coordinates of The Americas, JR’s Black and White Night, The Work of Wind, and in celebration of the 10th edition, 10 for 10th – Memory Lane. A series of independent, special and extended projects joins the fray throughout the city.