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Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Survival Guide

[Detail, Allison Rowe’s Tar Sands Exploration Station]

The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE) starts today and it is always one of the highlights of our summer events calender. Last year's 50th anniversary was extra exciting with off-site retrospectives and the commemorative Julie Pham vase. To help you get the most out of your TOAE experience, we asked executive director Alia Toor about some of the 2012 exhibition highlights.

[Julie Moon, Slug]

What's new this year?

For the first time, we’re offering children’s activities — and not just any activities. Designed with the assistance of Bev Dywan, known for her interactive programming at the ROM, AGO and Ontario Science Centre our programs will offer kids the opportunity to create unique work based on the artwork they see around them. We're still working out all some details, so look for the art stations. These activities are free [thanks to the sponsorship of Today’s Parent magazine].

TOAE is also expanding an initiative that generated great excitement last year. In Art Now, five installation pieces are featured for the duration of the show. This work draws on contemporary art practices not typically seen at TOAE, exposing art and artists to new audiences, stimulating interest and discourse.

[Holly Wheatcroft, Turn It On]

Lastly, we have formed a new partnership with ARTBOMB. We’re big fans of their on-line daily auction and we share their philosophy: Buy what you love! On Saturday, from 2pm-3:30pm, join princpals Jim Shedden and curator Andrea Carson Barker for Art Walk with ARTBOMB and learn to buy art that you will love for years to come withprincipals, Jim Shedden and curator Andrea Carson Barker as they discuss their top picks at the 2012

How would you describe the unique link that TOAE forges between artists and the community?

TOAE gives artists and the community an opportunity to connect in a friendly, open-ended, open-air, almost celebratory atmosphere. The public knows that it will see extraordinary work from a wide range of disciplines. They often come intent on purchasing work. Artists know their work will be seen by people who may not venture regularly into galleries.

The value of this cannot be overstated. TOAE is one of the few affordable venues in which emerging and established artists can deal directly with the public. We do not take commissions. Our primary interest is to support artists who produce work of quality and distinction. 

Visitors and artists who may never typically cross paths meet. Collectors and aficionados return year after year to seek out their favourite artists, and see how their work has evolved.

What would you say makes the exhibition unique in the Toronto Arts calendar?

Artists submit their work knowing that, if they are accepted, they will be showing with some of the best emerging and established artists in Canada. They know their work will be seen by respected and active members of the arts community as well as wider public audiences. They know they are taking part in a well-established, well-run exhibition that makes every effort to support their work. (They often don’t know that we’re a small staff with a strong volunteer presence, but perhaps that’s another story.)

Any advice for first timers to the TOAE who want to start an art collection?

The show can be a bit overwhelming at first — so much art, so little time! Some people come for a few hours every day (Friday is often a good day in terms of selection). Collect what you like. Spend some time with the artist. Know that you will receive immense pleasure from the work you collect, far beyond the price/cost of it. 

Reader Comments (1)

Love the picture from the Tar Sands Exploration Station !

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGaz

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