Celebrating Toronto’s Art and Community
Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021 will kick-off the City’s new 10-Year of Public Art Strategy, signalling Toronto’s renewed commitment to public art. The program will celebrate Toronto’s incredible collection of public art and the artists behind it, while creating more opportunities for the public to connect and engage with the work. Toronto’s commitment to this exciting new program underscores a dedication to the arts sector as an essential component of a vibrant city.
The Year of Public Art will provide new opportunities for both Toronto and international artists to play a leading role in the development of public art projects within the city. The program will work closely with artists and Toronto’s key arts institutions to deliver major public art projects and commissions for 2021.
Toronto’s Year of Public Art will be driven by the guiding principles of the 10-Year Public Art Strategy and its 21 strategic actions endorsed by Toronto City Council.
Foremost among these principles is a commitment to advancing reconciliation in Toronto through Indigenous place-making. For Toronto’s Year of Public Art, this means that:
- Projects will acknowledge the Indigenous history, present and future of the land they are situated on;
- Indigenous projects should be guided by self-determination, freedom of expression, equitable access to resources and greater influence over public art practices; and,
- Indigenous communities and creators must be at the centre of the decision-making process for any Indigenous-focused project.
Key Pillars of Public Art Strategy
Toronto’s Year of Public Art will launch Toronto’s new Public Art Strategy, with its vision of “Creativity and Community–Everywhere”
Pillar One: Creativity
The Toronto Public Art Strategy will create new platforms for artists and community partners to create and experiment with public art.
- Issue open calls to artists and curators for project ideas
- Animate Toronto with temporary public art
- Identify public art opportunities and engage artists as early as possible in all projects
- Champion career-launching platforms for the next generation of public artists
- Create new skills development and leadership opportunities for Indigenous artists, curators and art consultants in the field of public art
- Deliver a range of competition types and opportunities
- Encourage new methods of community-engaged public art works in a variety of media
Pillar Two: Community
Connecting the public with public art is fundamental to amplifying the impact of Toronto’s collection.
- Enable the public to discover and interact with public art through creative online resources
- Activate public art through community-focused educational and interpretive programming
- Create more public art opportunities for artists from equity-seeking communities
- Engage Indigenous communities to identify sites of significance across Toronto for Indigenous public art projects
- Ensure that juries and advisory committees are reflective of the diversity of the arts sector, and the population of the City of Toronto
- Engage artists and communities city-wide in decision-making related to public art through meaningful consultation processes
- Establish an artist-in-residence program in City divisions
- Pursue new opportunities for destination public art
Pillar Three: Everywhere
Public art should provide opportunities for residents to engage with the city’s diversity and creativity on an everyday basis, no matter where they live.
- Develop City-wide standards to consistently apply the “Percent for Public Art” policy to municipal capital projects
- Produce public art master plans on a city-wide basis to provide strategic direction on future project plans
- Pool public art funds to produce new works in underserved areas of the city
- Advance Indigenous place-making city-wide through public art
- Integrate public art in a variety of media into a broader range of public realm improvements
- Protect public art works city-wide through proactive maintenance and conservation
Toronto’s Year of Public Art will work in close collaboration with partners in the arts, business and government, with a focus on 11 objectives:
- Support the City of Toronto’s new 10-year Public Art Strategy, created through extensive public consultation, and approved by Toronto City Council.
- Work with the Mayor’s External Advisory Committee to champion the initiative and ensure it has relevance and reach for public and private partners.
- Provide real opportunities to Toronto artists to produce new artwork for 2021, through new funding opportunities with the Toronto Arts Council and the City of Toronto.
- Collaborate with key partner arts institutions on significant new initiatives for 2021, including legacy commissions and public engagement activities.
- Advance Indigenous place-making to support the City of Toronto’s efforts towards Indigenous reconciliation and create new opportunities for Indigenous artists.
- Strengthen the link between public art and civic engagement through investment in art that engages the public while addressing major issues facing Toronto today.
- Expand the City of Toronto’s cultural events to celebrate public art, including city-wide expansion of Nuit Blanche Toronto by 2021 and public art focus for Doors Open.
- Reflect all Toronto communities in public art, by supporting diversity in both City and partner-led projects and ensuring efforts reach across the city, including multigenerational engagement with a focus on youth.
- Invest in access to public art, improve the City of Toronto’s digital presence for public art as well as invest in public and private partner-led projects that help people navigate, access, and engage with the art.
- Support innovation in public art design, delivery and engagement, through partnerships with artists and institutions that are pushing boundaries in the field.
- Strengthen existing, and cultivate new partnerships, between the private sector, the arts community and the City of Toronto.
Toronto’s Year of Public Art will lay the foundation for a stronger arts sector by supporting artists, key arts institutions and the public with the following program streams:
Getting money directly to artists for artist-initiated temporary public art projects, including a new Toronto Arts Council granting stream, Animating Toronto Streets
Arts organizations and festivals will be eligible for different levels of partnership with the City of Toronto on Year of Public Art activities, including funding, communications, and production support.
Through both grants to partners and improved City efforts, the public will benefit from new tools and programs to help access and engage with public art in Toronto.
The Year of Public Art will leave an enduring legacy of new works and funds, plus create sustainable opportunities for Toronto’s artists seeking to work in the public realm beyond 2021.
Mayor's Year of Public Art External Advisory Committee
The Mayor’s Year of Public Art External Advisory Committee will play a crucial role in ensuring that the project is communicated and implemented in ways that resonate with Torontonians, maximize the event’s impact, and leave a lasting legacy. Each member on the Committee brings an essential and critical perspective to the development of the project and will be a champion of the Year of Public Art within their respective communities and networks.
- Edward Birnbaum, Director of Legislative Affairs, Office of the Mayor
- Michele Pearson Clarke, Visual Artist, Toronto Photo Laureate
- Kari Cwynar, Curator, Evergreen Brickworks
- Bonnie Devine, Indigenous Artist and Curator, OCAD University
- Michele Erskine, CEO, OutFront Media Canada
- Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Council
- Jeff Hull, President, Hullmark
- Corrie Jackson, Senior Curator, RBC
- Luis Jacob, Independent Artist and Curator
- Mimi Joh-Carnella, Board Chair, Partners In Art
- Krystal Koo, Head of Sales & Marketing, Dream Unlimited
- Bruce Kuwabara, Partner, KPMB Architects
- Shawn Micallef, Writer, Spacing Magazine
- Mazyar Mortazavi, President & CEO, TAS Design Build
- Just John Samuels, Artist & Founder, Blank Canvas Gallery
Check back on May 1, 2020 for application and funding details.
To learn more about custom sponsorship and partnership opportunities for Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021, please contact email@example.com
Mark Stoddardt, “ReConnectedSTC,” 2019. Scarborough Town Centre
Hadley + Maxwell, “Garden of Future Follies,” 2016. Front Street and Bayview Street
Rolande Souliere, “Bringing Back Wabakinine,” 2015. Bala Underpass, Lower Don River Trail
Derek Revington, “The Luminous Veil,” 2003. Bloor Viaduct
Tannis Nielsen, StART Underpass (UP) Program. Underpass, Lower Simcoe Street at Bremner Boulevard