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public art

Hot Art: Grate Portraits on Stephen Avenue

Local celebrity Dave Kelly fly-fishing. Photo: Adele Brunnhofer.

Thursday, September 20, local artist Mandy Stobo debuts the Grate Walk of Fame, a collection of her portraits of local celebrities. The works will be displayed on the iron grates that decorate the foot of each tree planted along Stephen Avenue Walk in the city’s downtown.

Stobo’s Bad Portraits and Grate Portraits series are impressive in their scope. Over the past year and a half, Stobo has created over 3,000 watercolour Bad Portraits of celebrities and friends. The project began when Stobo, a single mother, considered what sort of projects she could both create and promote from home. Navigating Facebook and Twitter, she pulled friends’ profile pictures and interpreted them in whimsical “bad” watercolour drawings. (more…)

Hot Art: Visuals, Easily Viewed

Henry Moore's Two Forms sits prominently outside the Art Gallery of Ontario

Toronto’s vibrant visual art scene means that galleries are sprinkled throughout the city. But you need not buy a ticket to view some very high-quality works. Public sculptures and installations decorate many of our parks and street corners, and are equally worth your interest. Often designed by acclaimed  artists—such as Henry Moore, whose sculptures can be found in front of City Hall (100 Queen St. W.) and the Art Gallery of Ontario—these works add flair to the streetscape and can even remind us of our history, as the circa-1870 Canadian Volunteers War Memorial in Queen’s Park does. Whether you guide yourself on a full-fledged Toronto art tour or just happen to come across an installation, take a minute to strike a pose, snap a photo and take a memory of Toronto’s urban landscape home with you. For further details, click here.

Staff Picks: 5 Spots to Spot Public Art

Canoe Landing Park (photo by Ian Muttoo)

It’s true that Toronto can’t compete with, say, Paris when it comes to decorating our parks and public spaces with art, but more intriguing sculptures, murals and installations are popping up all the time. In particular, these five locations offer visuals that are equally worth photographing and contemplating. (more…)

Picture Perfect Public Art in Ottawa

You don’t have to be inside a gallery to appreciate art. This city is filled with unique public art pieces and commemorations that offer fun photo ops. Get ready to strike a pose! By Misa Kobayashi.

From left: "The Living Room" at City Hall, photo credit National Capital Commission. "Maman" at the National Gallery of Canada, photo credit Louise Bourgeois Trust.

This piece of work, from architecture design firm Urban Keios, inverts public and private space by situating everyday objects and activities in public view. The fun colours and shapes, as well as its surprising placement outdoors, make this an entertaining stop for families. The piece encourages public interaction, so whether you’re reading, resting, conversing, or playing, the audience becomes part of the art.
Where: Ottawa City Hall, Laurier Avenue (more…)

Hot Attraction: Public Art on Bank Street

Photo credit: Public Art Bicyle Rack by Amy Thompson, Bank Street North. Commissioned by City of Ottawa.

Keep an eye out for the innovative Public Art Bicycle Racks when walking along Bank Street. These bold, sometimes playful, and always unexpected designs were created by local artists, and chosen from more than 160 submissions. With some 30 eye-catching designs and 90 racks, these stainless steel panels allow Ottawa’s cyclists to lock onto something beautiful. The functional public art project, launched in 2008, has designs ranging from local scenery and animals to more abstract constructions.

Luminato Preview—Visual Art Abounds

Free public art installations have always been important pillars of Luminato’s programming, and this year is no exception. On display for the duration of the festival, these visual arts encounters are as inventive as they are unavoidable.

David Rockebys Long Wave installation is part of Luminatos Communication/Environment art programming (photo by Craig Moy).

David Rockeby's Long Wave installation (photo by Craig Moy).

1. Communication/Environment examines physical responses to invisible stimuli (such as sound or electromagnetic radiation) in three projects, including Long Wave, a large-scale installation at Brookfield Place (181 Bay St.) by Toronto artist David Rockeby, which deconstructs the image of a sine wave.

2. Don’t be startled by the giant sphere looming over you. This isn’t an episode of The Prisoner, but Kurt Perschke’s RedBall Project Toronto, which places, well, an oversized orb around the city to foster creative engagement with public spaces and landmarks.

The RedBall Project rolled up to Torontos Old City Hall (photo by Craig Moy).

The RedBall Project rolled up to Toronto's Old City Hall (photo by Craig Moy).

3. The festival’s affection for the guitar is visually manifested in Shadow Notes, an exhibition at Yonge-Dundas Square that features huge music-related photographs by famed shooters Danny Clinch, Ralph Gibson and Police guitarist Andy Summers.

4. The compelling—some might say unsettling—work of pioneering American new-media artist Tony Oursler finds a temporary home at Grange Park, directly south of the newly renovated Art Gallery of Ontario.