Application Number: 6
INITIATIVE: What is the title of your initiative?
The Artful City
RATIONALE: Why was this initiative developed? Briefly describe your vision for this initiative: what changes would you like to see in your community, in the college/university, and for the student experience?
The Artful City is a multi-faceted project that aims to foster vital public art practices and influence policies supporting healthy and imaginative cities. Through a series of public programs and collaborative initiatives, this project will advance public art research as a tool for engagement that works to foster a vibrant and inclusive civic commons. The project has three primary objectives: 1.Promoting awareness of existing collections and elevating discourse about public art throughout Toronto. 2.Informing public art practices and policy through new educational paradigms and advocacy efforts. 3.Diversifying Toronto’s public art landscape through supporting alternative approaches to commissioning public art This initiative began in 2014, in response to the proliferation of public art commissions throughout Toronto. Public and private sectors have made significant investments in public art, but current policies only make public art accessible to a small section of Toronto’s population. Given this problem, The Artful City strives to promote more inclusive practices and policies. To realize this change, the proposed initiative will engage multiple communities - from students, to artists, developers, and architects – to sustain a dialogue around the role of public art in promoting equity and inclusion across all of Toronto. The Artful City is the convening force that will catalyze groups and practitioners to collaborate and take action.
GOVERNANCE AND PARTNERSHIPS: Who will oversee and manage the initiative? How does it connect with other local, regional, or national projects or networks?
Ilana Altman: Ilana will be responsible for coordinating ongoing collaboration between partners and communicating project status updates. Melanie Fasche: Melanie will oversee all writing and communications (mapping narratives, media kit, and website copy), including coordination with the data mapping research assistant. Brandon Vikerd, York University: York University’s School of Arts, Media, Design and Performance will support the project through the promotion of collaborative research and the foundation of critical infrastructure. In addition, York University will lead the planning of a 2017 symposium effort and the development of a new Public Art Masters Certificate. The MPI: The Martin Prosperity Institute Cities team will provide in-kind research supervision of the visualization of the public art data. This support will help facilitate an interactive online tool to demonstrate the spatial analysis of public art in Toronto. The Artful City initiative will link up with the 2017 public art symposium currently being planned at York University. A first of its kind, this symposium will serve as a connecting forum to bring transdisciplinary networks together from across the country. The symposium will be national in scope, with the goal of uniting partners from other cities across Canada working on relevant projects. For example, groups like Public Art Dialogue – an organization that links public art producers across the globe. In doing so, we believe the symposium will fill a knowledge gap between local, regional and national projects in public art practice.
OVERVIEW OF ACTIVITIES: Briefly describe the activities of the initiative: when did it start, what organizations and departments are participating? Give a few examples of what participants will be doing.
Over the last year, The Artful City has initiated a series of ongoing multi-media ventures: •An ongoing photo essay that traces the rise of public art in Toronto. The series highlights public art’s role in the production of an integrated civic commons •A bi-weekly blog series - in collaboration with Spacing magazine - that celebrates recent work and draws attention to best practices in other international cities. •A comprehensive citywide mapping effort that illustrates patterns of public art development within Toronto. The mapping will capture disparities (high production versus low production zones) occurring in public art development throughout the city •A transdisciplinary symposium on the state of public art practices in May 2017. •The launch of the project website (http://www.theartfulcity.org/)
STRATEGIC LEARNING: What will success look like both in the short-term and the long-term? How are you assessing results? What will you do with this information, and with whom are you sharing lessons?
Following the social enterprise approach, we will assess short and medium term results based on the following measures: 1. Disseminating mapping effort into an accessible online resource to be shared across social media platforms and networks 2. Media pickup and public reaction to public launch of mapping effort 3. Response from networks, particularly those working in the public art community, website hits, and other media 4. Response from attendees at exhibition launch event Achieving long-term successes will hinge on transforming ideas generated from earlier efforts into action: 1. New forms of collaboration between various commissioning bodies 2. Facilitating the introduction of independent commission bodies in supporting new approaches to changing existing processes 3. The formation of an advocacy group with members from the University, the City, and broader public art community 4. Change in process to enable greater cross-departmental collaboration among city agencies in their mandates (i.e., TTC and Culture division) Outputs will be shared across transdisciplinary networks, including with the wider public, public art community, and at the university faculty level to inform educational models of public art theory and practice. We will also share our work with the City of Toronto – who may find aspects of this work particularly useful in filling a resource gap.
Would you consider your initiative to be a social enterprise?
Does the proposed initiative have potential to be applied elsewhere in Canada? If yes, please explain.
As the first Canadian city to establish a Percent for Public Art policy in 1986, Toronto has long served as a national precedent for public art policy. Consequently, many cities, such as Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, look to Toronto’s successes and shortfalls as they expand their collections and/or reconsider their policy frameworks. The Artful City’s work in Toronto will therefore serve as an important case study for other cities looking to modify how they do public art.
1. APPROACH: Which departments are involved in this initiative? How will they work with community organizations, social enterprise, local government and within post-secondary institutions (i.e. with professors, administration and students)?
The primary department involved will be the Visual Arts and Art History (VAAH) Department of the School of Arts, Media, Design and Performance at York University. The VAAH Department will support this project through assisting in establishing the framework for ongoing research and data collection, specifically related to the necessary infrastructure such as financial management, community outreach, providing venues for research and collaboration, and promoting the research in an academic context, but, more importantly, in a wide public context. Data collected will be used to generate an online resource that makes the city’s current collection more accessible to the broader public. Students from York University and the University of Toronto will work with The Artful City to advance data collection, narrative development and GIS platform development.
2. INFLUENCING POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS: Will research or teaching within the post secondary institution you are a part of or working with be changed as a result of this initiative? How will the administration staff, faculty, and students be involved and recognized for their accomplishments within the college/ university?
The VAAH Department is currently planning a symposium on the state of contemporary public art practices to be held in May 2017. The Artful City project will help to generate dialogue around the topic in advance of the event, and could evolve into a key component of this symposium as it presents a workable case study through which to evaluate the state of Public Art management and commissioning models in Toronto. The mapping effort will serve as a comprehensive, illustrative tool and the basis for discussion about diversified and more inclusive practices. As a survey of municipal management of public art, the proposed research would be useful in generating discussion and debate with concrete examples. Furthermore, the VAAH Department is currently in the planning stages of a Public Art Masters Certificate. The program (to be proposed in 2017/18) is a multi-disciplinary program that seeks to generate research and innovation in public art by fostering collaboration between artist, architects, policy makers and public art consultants through annual courses and working groups. As a university founded on interdisciplinary approaches to research, York University is uniquely poised to develop a program that will drive policy change related to public art, while elevating the discourse around the role of public space in Canadian cities. The Artful City project is a vital research tool in the formation of this proposed program.
IMPACT: What will you be able to accomplish now that you could not before the collaboration? In what way will your organization work differently as a result of this initiative?
The support from the Civic Innovation Awards program will enable The Artful City to legitimize the collaboration in the eyes of those partners involved; it will allow us to sustain commitment from partners over the short and medium term; establish an implementable timeline guided by a granting schedule; and, begin the process of raising the profile of public art in post-secondary institutions through critical discourse. Looking ahead, support will allow The Artful City to evaluate the issues we are raising from a transdisciplinary perspective, primarily through including a more diverse range of perspectives and stakeholders in the conversation. In doing so, we will reach a broader audience and identify opportunities to scale up our efforts. Lastly, and most importantly, we believe this level of support will set in motion changes in education that are fundamental to advancing public art practice in Canada. Funding support from the Civic Innovation Awards program will allow the Artful City to advance all components of the mapping project, including the development of an online, publicly accessible platform. In addition, funding will support a launch event, a photo exhibition, panel discussion, walking tours, and a live mapping demonstration. Taken together, this level of activity that will enable our collective to engage new audiences for the first time. During the launch we will also partner with ongoing efforts promoting engagement and education, such as Jane's Walk. These public-facing efforts would be unattainable in the absence of support from this award. Ultimately, these proposed initiatives will enable The Artful City to move from behind the scenes into the public eye.
Mr. Brandon Vickerd
Phone Number: (416) 736-2100 x 20057
Ms Ilana Altman
Phone Number: (647) 390.8700
Mr Jeff Biggar
Mr Brandon Vickerd
Other relevant information/comments
no other relevant information needed.