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Look up from your phone!

January 31st, 2017

Art is (almost) everywhere.  A new AGO installation maps out where you can—and can’t—find Toronto’s public art.

Map Detail, Toronto Downtown Core. Cartography by Kai Salmela. Image courtesy the Artful City.

Did you know that the City of Toronto currently has over 700 public artworks on display, free of lineups and admission fees? And now, for the first time ever, a map has been created that marks where all public artwork can be found in the city. Created by Toronto-based public art research collective The Artful City in collaboration with the Martin Prosperity Institute and presented in partnership with the AGO, The Artful City: Mapping Toronto’s Public Art Landscape 1967–2015 is a new installation in our Weston Family Learning Centre Community Gallery.

This large-scale installation, featuring a detailed map and illustrated timeline, was a year in the making.  The map reveals patterns: the growth of public artwork has been concentrated in particular neighbourhoods and has prioritized certain forms of practice over others. As part of the experience, visitors are invited to identify areas in need of public artworks, and answer the questions “What does public art mean to you? What can it look like in the future?”

We asked Ilana Altman, founder of The Artful City, to tell us more about this project:

AGO: What prompted this project?
Ilana: Over the last decade Toronto has witnessed a significant proliferation of public art throughout the city, through both public and private commissions. But until now there was no means of tracking this phenomenon and understanding how this investment and artistic activity has been reshaping our city as a whole.

AGO: What does it aim to do?
Ilana: This developing picture of Toronto serves as an important tool to better understand and appreciate the public art we have while raising an important question – where do we go from here?”

The feedback generated by visitors to this installation will be collected and presented in May 2017 at Public Art; New Ways of Thinking and Working, a symposium organized by York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design. Plus, you never know when your input will inspire a new public project!











In the meantime, the AGO is proud to be co-hosting a series of walking tours and discussions around public art alongside The Artful City. The first of these, Public Art in the Subways, launches on Tuesday, February 14. For more details on how to register for this and other programs related to The Artful City: Mapping Toronto’s Public Art Landscape 1967–2015 click here.

The Community Gallery in the Weston Family Learning Centre is open and free to the public, but did you know AGO Members get a discount on courses and programs? Find out more about the benefits of membership here.

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