To kick off Toronto’s 10-Year Public Art Strategy, which was approved by City Council in 2019, the City of Toronto has declared 2021-2022 the Year of Public Art.
As Toronto continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has launched ArtworxTO, a program designed to celebrate the community of creative minds behind our expansive collection of public art and bring installations directly to local neighbourhoods.
Historically, public art installations have been tied to major development applications and as a result, the City’s collection is largely centred in the downtown core. In 2017, a team of researchers from the Ontario College of Art & Design and the University of Toronto identified vast areas of the City with little to no public art available, which they dubbed “public art deserts.” The ArtworxTO program will help eliminate these “deserts” by changing the development-centred approach and deliberately placing public art installations in neighbourhoods across the city.
The program is guided by three pillars:
1. Creativity – providing new platforms for artists and community partners to create and experiment with public art;
2. Community – connecting local neighbourhoods with art and enhancing access by providing online creative resources; and
3. Everywhere – changing our approach to public art to produce new works in underserved areas of the city.
To date, ArtworxTO has engaged more than 1,500 local artists in the creation of over 350 new exhibitions, installations, murals, and other productions. In September, the City launched the ArtworxTO website (www.artworxto.ca), which includes an interactive map of all the public artwork installations across Toronto that can be used to explore art in your local neighbourhood or plan your visit to installations in other communities. I would encourage you to visit the website to learn more about the public art available near Leaside and across Ward 15.
Before being elected as a City Councillor, I served as a Director in the City’s Economic Development & Culture division and helped establish initiatives such as Toronto’s Nuit Blanche and Moose in the City – two programs that brought public art to the forefront. The arts have always been an integral part of Toronto’s cultural fabric and they will continue to play an important role in reanimating our city post-pandemic. Thank you to the 22 sponsors, donors, and media partners who have made this program possible.
For more information: https://www.artworxto.ca.