As an avid cyclist and art fan I’ve been anxious to take part in Art Spin since it got rolling last year but so far my schedule just hasn’t aligned with this monthly summer event. And so it will be again tomorrow night (June 30) when a rag tag band of art lovers sets off from Trinity Bellwoods Park without me for a tour of neighbourhood galleries and studios. I already have the July 28 date blacked out in my calendar.
Founded last year by visual artist Rui Pimenta, (far left) Art Spin is 100 per cent free and staffed entirely by volunteers. Says co-organizer Casey Hinton (centre with her sister Layne Hinton, right), “We do it for the love of it. We’re all artists and/or curators and avid cyclists, and we have so much fun putting these tours together. Also, it’s a really fantastic way to participate in the Toronto arts community. We’re able to promote art, choose what should be on display, encourage and work with emerging and young artists, provide unique opportunities for artists to be seen – and as artists and curators ourselves, it is an amazing way to network, meet gallery owners, artists and other creative types with whom we are lucky enough to work and collaborate.” READ MORE
The Heritage Toronto Legacy Plaques Program unveiled eight new tributes this morning honouring leaders in the city’s cultural and intellectual life. Lawyer Grace Westcott (left, chair of the Legacy Project) joined City Councillor John Parker (Ward 26 Don Valley West) and Karen Carter (Executive Director of Heritage Toronto) for the unveiling in the City Hall members lounge. The plaques are being installed at the former residences of media theorist Marshall McLuhan (29 Wells Hill Avenue), National Ballet of Canada founder Celia Franca (166 Carlton Street), composer Harry Somers (158 Douglas Drive), architect E.J. Lennox (487 Sherbourne Street), photographer William James (250 Major Street), writer Jane Jacobs (69 Albany Avenue), painter Tom Thomson (38 Elm Street) and geologist/physicist J. Tuzo Wilson (Ontario Science Centre). The Toronto Legacy Project was established in 2002 by the city’s first Poet Laureate, Dennis Lee, to celebrate our artists, scientists, and thinkers by weaving their names into the cityscape.
A jovial Mayor Miller uses his camera phone to capture a moment at yesterday’s unveiling of Article 13, an artistic rendering of a new poem by Dionne Brand, far right, the City’s Poet Laureate. In the centre is Louise Garfield, Executive Director of Arts Etobicoke, the Local Arts Service Organization that spearheaded the art alley mural project.
Article 13 is the twelfth in a series of 30 proposed public murals — part of Amnesty International’s Project: Urban Canvas — each one an interpretation of one of the 30 articles of human rights. Article 13 states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.” You can read Brand’s poem on the Arts Etobicoke website. The mural was designed by artist Susan Rowe Harrison and painted by William Lazos. Click through to see photos of the mural. READ MORE
In my interviews this week with the four Scotiabank Nuit Blanche curators, each of them acknowledged the challenges of physically accommodating the huge crowds that will descend on the event tomorrow night.
“Nuit Blanche is a victim of its own success,” suggests Zone C curator Christof Migone, above. “My theme, Should I Stay Or Should I Go, is a direct response to the lineups you inevitably see at Nuit Blanche and when you confront one you have to make the decision to stay or to go.”
Consequently, Migone, like his colleagues, made every effort to stage installations out of doors in spaces as open as possible in order to embrace the public’s enthusiasm for this feast of contemporary art. But even a site like the expansive Commerce Court Courtyard, accessible from three sides, is likely to jam up as people stream in to witness Davide Balula’s The Endless Pace (variation for 60 dancers), 2009, above.
If you didn’t go to school at Ryerson University you probably have no idea that the grassy splendour of the Kerr Hall Quad exists between Gould and Gerrard streets, west of Church. Perhaps Saturday night’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche and the two commissioned works being staged in and at the entrance to the Quad will introduce you to this normally tranquil little hideaway for the first time. That’s one of the hopes of curator Sarah Robayo Sheridan, left (photo by Angus Rowe MacPherson), who, together with the artists, has selected the location for the performance piece Reunion, 2010 (Ryerson Theatre) and Up, Up and Around: Toronto City Hall, 2010, by Christian Giroux and Daniel Young (Ryerson Quad).
Very nearby will be New York artist Iman Issa‘s four Meeting Point installations, “light box projects stationed through the area that form a little pathway,” explains Robayo Sheridan. “They’re sort of tucked away in alleyways and back parking lots and they serve as proposals for monuments of the artist’s own invention. Those locations I scouted on bicycle, combing through the area to see what would work best, so I think some of the sites will be a surprise to people.” READ MORE