Project Members: Nikita Lorenzo, Amanda McNeil
Venue: John B. Aird Gallery
Dates: March 6th – April 6th 2018-04-04
Toronto: The Views Are Different Here is a multimedia contemporary art exhibition that looks at alternative representations of the city of Toronto. The focus of the exhibit is predominantly on the people who inhabit the city but it also speaks to the physical landscape that makes up Toronto. The curators were interested in analyzing artistic representations of Toronto outside of the typically portrayed city skyline or CN Tower. As a city known for diversity and difference, the exhibit looks at the multiple forms this could come in.
The exhibit is intended for all members of the public. There is very little didactic text and the art included in the exhibit is intended to be interpreted by any visitor regardless of age or background.
The exhibition is being put on at the John B. Aird Gallery, located at 900 Bay St. This gallery is located in an Ontario Government building and is open Monday – Friday from 10am-6pm.
Toronto: The Views Are Different Here is a joint collaboration between the University of Toronto Master of Museum Studies Program, the John B. Aird Gallery and the City of Toronto Arts Connections Program. The partnership between the project and the City of Toronto came about unexpectedly but with much enthusiasm. When the curators first met with Aird Gallery Director Carla Garnet to discuss potential exhibition ideas, it was her that put the curators in contact with the project manager of the Arts Connections Program, Devi Arasayanagam. Arts Connections is a program funded by the City of Toronto, dedicated to providing professional development and financial support to newly arrived artists who are establishing themselves in the Toronto arts scene. The partnership has proven to be a wonderful success.
Project development for The Views Are Different Here began in October 2017. A Call for Submissions was put out between late November 2017 until late January 2018. A Jury Panel was chosen to select the art works the very first week of February 2018. On this panel was Gallery Director Carla Garnet, Matthew Brower, professor of the Master of Museum Studies Exhibition Class and Gillian Reddyhoff, archivist and curator at the City of Toronto Archives, along with the curators Amanda and Nikita. Of the 80 applicants, 29 artists were selected to be a part of the show. The remaining month of February was dedicated to creating didactic materials, planning for public programming and organizing the opening reception. Installation took place over a two-day period on March 3rd and 4th, 2018. Toronto: The Views Are Different Here officially opened on March 6th 2018 with an opening reception held on march 8th. Public programming was held on March 15th and March 22nd 2018.
The curators knew from the inception of the exhibit concept that they wanted a show that was compromised of many different mediums of art. The art work selected ended up being a 50/50 split between painting and photography, with 2 sculptural works. The curators worked diligently over 2 days of installation to try and place the artwork in such a way so that the art work was balanced (i.e. not having a whole section of photography and then a whole section of painting). The show integrates these two mediums side by side creating a nice contrast between the art forms. While the curators tried to create a narrative with the art placement, they soon realized this to be a very difficult thing and had to start thinking about the art’s relationship with one another outside of a “story”. There is only one didactic panel in the exhibit and acts as an introduction, giving visitors a brief exhibit thesis. There is no real starting point for the show and instead visitors are invited to view he show from multiple entry points.
Marketing for our exhibition was done predominately by ourselves, the artists and the Aird gallery. An exhibition website and Facebook page was created and consistently updated with news on the show. The curators shared these updates on their personal social media accounts as well. Many of the artists promoted the show to their personal Facebook and Instagram accounts as well. The Aird gallery was very helpful in promoting our public programming events as they circulated email blasts to their members letting them know about our Artist Panel and Curators Walk Through. Additionally, the curators were interviewed by Romi Levine from UofT News. Her article was published on the UofT News website, which was sent out to students across campus.
Overall, The Views Are Different Here has been very well received. The opening reception held on March 8th was attended by over 200 people, with very positive feedback left in the guestbook. The exhibit was also visited by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, her honorable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, who was given a private tour of the show. Ontario Trillium Foundation held an event at the Gallery as well, whereby the curators were invited to attend and speak on the exhibition.
The curators would like to thank Professor Matthew Brower for his continued support and guidance throughout the entire course of the project. A very special thanks to Gallery Director Carla Garnet and Board President Jowenne Herrera for their incredible patience and for allowing the opportunity to learn from them. Devi Arasayanagam and Aleks Molnar from the Arts Connection Program have also been imperative partners in this endeavor. Our biggest thank you however goes out to all the artists that participated in the show, without whom none of this would have been possible.