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In conversation with SMASH art director Jacquelyn West

6 months ago

SMASH may be the newest art party on the block, but it’s already built a reputation over the past two years as the one of the city’s boldest, most artful events of the summer.

This year, we tapped Jacquelyn West, a self-described artistic director, producer, and placemaker, as art director. Under her leadership, artists and innovators will transform the Museum from top to bottom for SMASH: We Are More, a party brimming with creativity, imagination, and intrigue—all inspired by the power of connection in the digital age.

We chatted with Jacquelyn about the party’s theme, the artists who are taking over, and some of the surprises that the night holds.

Can you give us some insight into this year’s theme, and how it will play out throughout the night?

The culture program for SMASH brings natural environments, contemplative contemporary art, and digital connections to all three floors of the Museum. The theme, We Are More, calls us out from behind our screens and bubbles of routine and asks us to step into the present moment. For this night, we tempt partygoers to explore the positive connections our modern world creates, to pause in celebration, and revel in the magic of this incredible time.

Artists working in a wide variety of mediums, from botanical to digital, make up the roster of exhibiting and contributing artists. How will they work together to transform the Museum?

SMASH: We Are More features artists, technologists, designers, mixologists, musicians, DJs, botanists, who together will create a wonderland to explore. Making use of the whole building and keeping the permanent collection open, the works and interventions will lead you through a new discovery of nature, soul, and new perspectives.

What are you looking forward to most about the event?

Throughout my career, my favourite projects have been the ones that catalyze a grand collaboration of the creative community and showcase artists who shape modern culture. The program for SMASH brings together exceptionally talented artists and creatives from Toronto and Montreal. It’s an experience inspired by the beauty of the Gardiner Museum and the creative energy of the Toronto/Montreal corridor. This year’s robust art program builds on our reputation as one of the great contemporary art parties in Toronto, and I can’t wait to see it IRL.

Any additional SMASH surprises or sneak peeks you can reveal?

At the heart of SMASH: We Are More is the desire to connect and find inspiration in things maybe we overlook in our busy modern times. There will be botanical installations that point to the savage beauty of nature in urban settings, revealing how it forces its beauty in unexpected ways. It will come alive in staircases and on the outdoor patios, bringing new ways of experiencing the majestic Gardiner Museum.

By building a partnership and design competition with George Brown College, graduates of the Integrated Design program will showcase four lead projects designed specifically for SMASH. Using new technologies and formats, expect to be engaged across the Museum by the magic of technology.

SMASH: We Are More, our annual summer art party, takes place on Thursday June 1. Get your tickets to join us for a night of bold contemporary art, top-notch entertainment, delectable food and drinks, and more.


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