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Announcing this year’s Community Art Space partners

4 years ago

The Community Arts Space is the Gardiner Museum’s annual summer incubator program for arts-based community projects conceived by up-and-coming local creatives. Since 2015, we’ve partner with artists, curators, and cultural innovators to present free, accessible programming—from live musical performances and film screenings, to collaborative art workshops—all inspired by the transformative aspects of clay.

This year’s theme, Recent Histories, is inspired the Gardiner’s mission to be an active force in the community, and to truly reflect the histories, lived experiences, and traditions of its publics. Through five different project streams, our partners will transform the Museum according to this theme, activating our 307-square-metre third-floor Exhibition Hall as well as our Outdoor Plaza.

We’re excited to share with you the partners who were selected for this year’s Community Arts Space:

jes sachse, Public Space Intervention

jes sachse is an artist, writer, and curator, who often marries poetry with large-scale sculptural forms. Their work addresses the negotiations of bodies moving in public/private space and the work of their care. sachse’s work has been shown at the AGO and the MacKenzie Art Gallery, and their writing has appeared in Canadian Art, C Magazine, and NOW Magazine. For the Public Space Intervention project, which mounts a socially-engaged installation on the Gardiner’s Outdoor Plaza, sachse will create a series of sculptures exploring the aesthetics of ramps. Made with industrial materials like iron and tile, the sculptures will envision a world of ramps that fosters consideration and play, and imagines how bodies interact with the architecture of access.

Annie Wong, Performance on the Plaza

Annie Wong is a multidisciplinary artist who uses various forms of participation and social engagement to reimagine performance, installation, and poetry. Her work has been presented at the AGO and Nuit Blanche, and was most recently published in the Shanghai Literary Review, Performance Research Journal, and MICE Magazine. As part of the Performance on the Plaza project, the Gardiner’s free outdoor performing arts series, Wong will organize a series of performances centering on intersectional feminist poetics. From a nomadic choir recalling and repeating the demands made by women and feminist movements across geography and history, to a reading series for local women writers, Wong’s project will transgress traditional poetry reading and spoken word to explore a feminist durational aesthetic of holding space through speaking and listening collectively.

Invisible Footprints, Visibility and Representation Project

Invisible Footprints is a series of multi-generational projects that celebrate the history of Toronto’s East and Southeast Asian LGBTQ movements. Created by Vince Ha, Mezart Daulet and fellow community organizers, this ongoing community-based art and archive project revisits the footprints of artists, activists, academics, and groups like Asian Lesbians of Toronto and Gay Asian Toronto to cast light on marginalized community histories. Gardiner’s Visibility and Representation Project will make space for the stories and lived experiences of local Queer, Trans, Indigenous, Black and People of Colour (QTIBPOC) communities by mounting a mixed-media exhibition recreating community gatherings that highlight key moments in local queer Asian histories. This new exhibition, made in collaboration with Makeshift Collective, will feature new works by artists Heidi Cho and Khanh Tudo, and be accompanied by skills sharing workshops for youth and elders exploring community histories at The 519.

Calla Lee and Prateeksha Singh, The Young People Project

Calla Lee and Prateeksha Singh are design researchers and strategists that work at the intersection of social justice and entrepreneurship. They have worked with organizations like School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario, and Sistering/Inspirations Studios, and have shown at Nuit Blanche. For the Young People Project, which is focused on providing creative, hands-on opportunities for children, youth, and families, Lee and Singh will present the discovery of a fictional civilization found during the digging of a new Toronto condominium development. Part theatre, part fiction, and partly rooted in research of contemporary trends and signals, this project will involve a series of co-creative artifact-making workshops with children, youth, and professional potters. The works will be displayed as part of an interactive exhibition.

Louis Esmé, Museum Intervention

Louis Esmé (Mi’kmaq-Acadian, Irish) is an artist, writer, and illustrator whose social art practice spans over 20 years working within grassroots, artist-run, and academic spaces. A co-founder of Titiesg Wîcinímintôwak // Bluejays Dancing Together Collective, which has gathered knowledge, stories, and desires for re-urbanized Two-Spirit people and their relations since 2012, Esmé’s work is granny craft/old media with social commentary akin to Statler & Waldorf from Sesame Street. For the Gardiner’s Intervention Project, which will evoke participation and educational potential within the expanded field of ceram­ics, Esmé will make seven clay districts representing the Mi’kmaq Seven Directions in the Gardiner’s Exhibition Hall, lobby, and permanent collection galleries. Vessels referencing Woodland pottery forms will reckon with ongoing colonialisms, while offering witness to Indigenous survivance on the Dish with One Spoon Territory.

The Community Arts Space will run from July 3 – August 31, 2018. Stay tuned for more updates!

Community Partners


Header image: jes sachse, SIGNS #4 & #5, 2017. Photo courtesy the artist [1] jes sachse, wish you were here, 2013. Photo courtesy the artist [2] Annie Wong, Tell: Stories of Girlhood, 2017. Image courtesy the artist [3] Invisible Footprints 0.1 Opening Night, 2017. Photo by Tony Wei-Han Chen [4] Calla Lee and Prateeksha Singh, NaturePod – Time Machine, 2015. Photo courtesy the artists [5] Louis Esmé. Photo courtesy the artist.

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