Initially created for the Toronto Public Art Strategy, the City of Toronto’s Artist in Residence (AiR) program embeds creativity as a core element in city-building and centralizes the effort across various City divisions to bring visibility to the arts as a significant part of the civic process. The AiR has a unique opportunity to create lasting impacts on departmental practices, improve relations between civil servants and citizens and increase visibility for marginalized populations while providing meaningful integration of art into everyday city-building.
Maria Hupfield is the City of Toronto’s inaugural AiR. During her 2023–24 residency, she will work with the City’s Urban Forestry team, bringing her creative force to bear in exploring and highlighting perceptions of, and pressures on, Toronto’s ravines.
Toronto is home to one of the largest urban ravine systems in the world, extending over 300 km and covering 17 per cent of Toronto’s land area. They are rich in biodiversity, provide ecosystem services and vital habitats for wildlife, and intersect with diverse communities that use and perceive them equally. Climate change and the effects of urbanization, such as increased use, are significantly impacting their natural systems.
Through this project, in support of Toronto’s Ravine Strategy, the City will showcase the benefits of its ravines, the impacts the public has on them, and the ongoing commitments that staff, volunteers, partners and residents have made to preserve and improve this invaluable resource. Hupfield’s work will help develop creative approaches to sustainably celebrate these precious spaces and encourage recognition and respect for nature across Toronto.
More information about Maria Hupfield is available on her website.