Jess Dobkin is doing what artists are supposed to do, she’s being creative. Dobkin’s local subway station is Chester and she’s had her eye on the fallow, shuttered Gateway newsstand, literally, for years.
Dobkin has organized a “small and mighty collective of Toronto artists” to move in and take over the space beginning May 1. They’ll run it partly as a typical newsstand selling standard commuter confections, and partly as an exhibition/performance space stocking art prints, books, etc.
Dobkin and company are in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign raising money to renew and refurbish the kiosk and make it art-ready.
“The kiosk is going to be staffed by artists and we’ll be bringing in artists to create work for the space,” she explains. “We’ll operate it as a traditional newsstand space and as an artist space for site specific exhibitions, screenings, performances, community arts projects. We’re commissioning work by local artists that will speak to issues of transit and mobility, accessibility, civic engagement.”
Toronto’s arts community filled St. Lawrence Hall yesterday for an informative presentation by the City’s Arts & Culture Section highlighting the many changes that have taken place since a thorough reorganization of the Economic Development and Culture Division last year.
As Director of Arts & Culture, Terry Nicholson, below, pointed out, “Culture has gone from having one Director among five to having three: Arts & Culture, Film Commissioner and Director of Entertainment Industries, and Museums & Heritage Services.” Furthermore, the Division’s new Program Support section works with all three units and newly appointed Manager, Policy Development,Larissa Deneau, was on hand to outline some of her team’s plans and challenges.
City Councillor Norm Kelly, Vice Chair of the City’s Economic Development & Culture Committee, below, opened the meeting with some personal anecdotes and an observation that following recent investment gains by the sector, the challenge now is to keep the city on top. “We’ve come a long way and there’s further to go,” he said. “And with spectacular City initiatives on the horizon like this summer’s Pan Am Games and the 10th Anniversary of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, there will be more excitement than ever to thrill visitors and Torontonians alike.”
In addition to introducing new staff, the session provided a forum to update those present on implementation of the 2011 Creative Capital Gains report. Updates on the Division’s work in implementing the recommendations of the report were given. Fully half of all the actions have been completed and the rest are under way. Nicholson also broke down the impressive new investments that are helping the City to reach its long-held goal of reaching $25 per capita investment in arts and culture. “By 2017 that goal will be reached,” proclaimed the Director to a round of applause.
The meeting ended with questions and networking, an opportunity many took full advantage of including former City Councillor Karen Stintz (below in blue) who was recently named Executive Director of ArtsBuild Ontario.
Analogue trades mostly in black and white nostalgia — classic rock from the 1960s and 70s — but once a year gallery owner Lucia Graca opens her doors to younger photographers, many of them shooting locally. Consequently, Sound Image is a celebration of the Hogtown music scene featuring a cross-section of venues and artists, both local heroes and international sensations. Pictured above is Roger Cullman’s contest winning photo of Nick Cave taken at Sony Centre in 2014.
Electronic, folk and world music collide at Revival Saturday night where Toronto’s Mahmood Schricker – Moudy to his pals – spearheads intriguing collaborations with Vancouver-based electronic artist/DJ Michael Red and Paris-based, Iranian act Shanbehzadeh Ensemble. On Friday, all three acts pull into Small World Music Centre to record what should be an intriguing mix of analog/electronic dub.
In addition to producing and promoting concerts and tours through his Link Music Lab, Schricker is a composer and player of the Iranian setar, a traditional three-stringed instrument that he plays in very non-traditional ways. The electrified setar is morphed and bent with a battery of effects to create a sound that is utterly of the moment – global, modern yet rooted in the past.
“In Persian music you always hear these drones,” notes Schicker, left, “and I thought I could do something else, personalize it. My ultimate goal is to have a minimal, dub electro sound with Persian music on top. It’s a very big challenge but I think we’re getting closer and closer and this concert will help bring us even further.”
It’s hard to imagine a better venue for Gertrude Kearns: The Art of Command, opening today at Fort York National Historic Site in the modern, new Visitor Centre. Kearns’s portraits and “texted” posters are undoubtedly contemporary while they consider the age-old subjects of military command, soldiering and war.
The large scale works fill a gallery space on the main level then stagger up two ramps, the second of which spans more than 200 feet. There are 46 works in all, portraits and posters of Canadian military men — for they are all men – that walk a delicate line between celebrating and condemning conflict.
“Maybe the works will allow people to be face-to-face with the responsibilities of command,” offered Kearns yesterday while we toured the show together. “It’s not glorifying the military and it’s not anti-war, I think the work straddles both of those while trying to inform and comment on the situation.”