Toronto aims to become global leader in public art

Dec 18 2019, 5:02 pm

Torontonians know better than anyone how much great art fills this city: from the iconic murals in Graffiti Alley to the numerous statues and sculptures that make up the city’s public art.

And this week, Toronto City Council endorsed a Public Art Strategy that will promote the great works throughout the city that aims to make Toronto a “global leader in public art.”

The city said the new program was developed during extensive community consultations, artist-led public engagement, community meetings, and an advisory committee of cultural leaders.

It hopes to focus the types of public art displayed towards assisting the municipality’s goals of increasing “equity and inclusion, environmental resiliency and reconciliation with Indigenous communities.”

By uniting the already existing three major public art programs — the City of Toronto Public Art and Monuments Collection, the Percent for Public Art Program and StreetARToronto — the new strategy wants to “enhance their collective impact.”


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“Toronto’s arts and culture sector is vibrant, diverse and growing and it is a key component of the economic success of this city,” said Mayor John Tory in a statement. “I’m proud that under my leadership, the city has enhanced its commitment to arts and culture and with this new strategy we will ensure that Toronto is more surprising, beautiful, challenging and inspiring in how it is experienced by residents across the city every day.”

The adoption of the strategy will also usher in 2021: Toronto’s Year of Public Art. A program that will showcase the already existing body of art available throughout the city as well as the communities and artists that created them.

“Toronto is a global capital centre for the arts and this strategy will put our diverse communities, artists and arts institutions at the heart of expanding public art to all corners of the city for both residents and visitors to engage with,” said Councillor Gary Crawford, who co-chaired the Mayor’s External Advisory Committee for the Year of Public Art, in the statement.

According to the city, Toronto is already home to more than 1,500 pieces of public art. Many of the works were commissioned by the city, its agencies, developers, and arts organizations.

Peter SmithPeter Smith

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