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Community Arts Space partners

Community Arts Space: Art is Change

Tue Jul 04 to Aug 31, 2017, All Day

After the success of the inaugural Community Arts Space in 2016, the Gardiner once again opens its doors to community partners who are holding two months of free programming, including hands-on workshops and original performances.

Through an open call, the Museum invited independent artists, community groups, arts organizations, and collectives to submit proposals. Four major themes emerged: accessibility, collaboration, arts-based community development, and place making.

The Gardiner’s unique history and identity is rooted in the city, but its future is increasingly shaped by rapid high-rise development. Each of the six projects that were selected contributes to the central theme of Art is Change, and considers how the city’s unique and varied local histories of art and social activism can be re-mapped for the future.

All of the Community Arts Space programming is free! Some programs require registration. Please click on the individual events to learn more.

Thursday July 6, 5 – 8 pm
Opening Celebration


Works for Change
Madeleine Co.
July 4 to 13

Works for Change recreates the film set of This Art Works!, which will serve as the backdrop to a program of how-to workshops and performances led by This Art Works! artists about their creative practices. Spanning one of the walls of the space, the audience can also join in the collective creation of a large-scale artwork.

Known for projects that re-imagine social issues through experiential storytelling and multimedia art, Madeleine Co. is excited to share sneak peeks from the series This Art Works! and unlock the potential for the public to contribute to art-making and social change.

Thursday July 6, 4 to 6 pm
How to Make a “Clay Mountain Person” with Ness Lee

Sunday July 9, 2 to 4 pm
How to Make a “Zine for Social Change” with Kaya Joan

Thursday July 13, 4 to 6 pm
How to Make a “Truth Bath Bomb” with Paddy Leung

Thursday July 13, 6 to 8 pm
“This Art Works!” Launch

What Makes a Space a Place?
Waterloo Architecture & PARTISANS Architects
Jul 4 to 26

Led by Jonathan Friedman of PARTISANS Architects, a team of Waterloo Architecture students will create a site-specific built installation on the Gardiner’s outdoor plaza. Coinciding with Waterloo Architecture’s 50th anniversary, visitors will be invited to embellish colourful benches with mosaic tile as part of a month-long communal art-making activation exploring the scarcity of meaningful public space in Toronto. A series of discussions and activations will engage the public in this ongoing dialogue throughout the month of July.

Originating as a graduate elective course taught by Friedman in the winter of 2017, graduate students from the University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture were tasked with activating the Gardiner’s outdoor plaza with a site-specific built installation. The course focused on three key areas of architectural investigation: materiality (linking traditional methods with new technologies); the site (an opportunity to engage with the building, the forecourt and the public realm in a meaningful and thoughtful way); and the poetics of space (the opportunity to create a poetic and provocative piece of art and design). In the process, the students have had the opportunity to examine the importance of civic space and to engage directly in the act of city building.

What Makes a Space a Place? was led by the following graduate students (listed in alphabetical order): Negar Behzad, Suhaib Bhatti, Golnaz Djamshidi, Alexandra Hucik, Carly Kandrack, Ali Mohebali, Cam Parkin, Fotini Pitoglou, Danielle Rosen, Pavel Tsolov, and Anqi Zhang.

Sunday July 9, 11 am – 3 pm
Family Sunday: Outdoor Mosaic Making

Monday July 10, 12 – 1 pm
Lunch Hour Outdoor Mosaic Making

Sunday July 16, 11 am – 3 pm
Family Sunday: Outdoor Mosaic Making

Friday July 21, 5 – 8 pm
Waterloo Architecture’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

Jul 18 to 27

Queer video and performance artist Mikiki, who identifies as a mixed White/Indigenous person of Mi’kmaq, Acadian, and Irish heritage, will address issues of identity and colonization through original choreography performed on a foundation of wet clay.

Since 2003, Mikiki’s art practice has been informed by their political history and community work in sexual and reproductive health and HIV, with a recent focus on the intersection of substance use and poverty.

Interested in addressing the connection between the limited availability of locally-sourced clay and the artist’s own tenuous and complex history of claiming their mixed- Indigenous, Two-Spirit heritage, Mikiki will develop a choreographic work for performance upon a foundation of wet commercial clay. Using hand-processed local clay collected through an honorable harvesting workshop led the Titiesg Wîcinímintôwak Bluejays Dancing Together Collective, Mikiki will address the shared collective experience of growing up without access to language or teachings as a result of colonization. These workshops, held in the Spring in collaboration with the Collective and The 519, supported the creation of fired clay tiles by local Two-Spirit artists. These tiles, which will be shown at The 519 and the Gardiner, will be incorporated into the performance and displayed outside performance times.

Wednesday July 19, 6 to 7 pm (Please Note: The showing on July 19 is for members of the Indigenous community only and will be followed by a Q&A)

Friday July 21, 7 to 8 pm
Saturday July 22, 3 to 4 pm
Sunday July 23, 3 to 4 pm
Tuesday July 25, 3 to 4 pm
Wednesday July 26, 6 to 7 pm (Please Note: This performance will be followed by a Q&A)

Feminist Art Museum
Xenia Benivolski and Su-Ying Lee
Aug 9 to 17

The Feminist Art Museum (FAM) is conceived by curators Xenia Benivolski and Su-Ying Lee as a national, multi-site pilot project. FAM will use brick as a metaphoric and material reference to create a space for dialogue on institution building, place, space, and land.

FAM asks: What are ways of being on the land that have been supplanted by colonialism and patriarchy? What knowledge can institutions and culture makers access if seeking to approach these projects with a socio-political consciousness? Visitors to the Gardiner Museum are invited to participate in the symbolic building and disseminating gesture by contributing and bringing in their own bricks, which will become part of the installation in the gallery. The formation of the brick pile will take form over the course of the project as it grows.

Amid the installation, the exhibition hall will also host “riot rock rattles” made in a workshop facilitated by artist Tsēma Igharas, and public rehearsals of Pauline Oliveros’ “Sonic Meditations” to consider the sonic as a way to take up space.

Saturdays May 27 & June 3, 10 am to 4 pm
Riot Rock Rattle Workshop with Tsēma Igharas

Sonic Meditations: Public Rehearsal with Christopher Willes and Anne Bourne
Saturday August 12, 10 am – 12 pm / 2:30 – 5 pm
Sunday August 13, 2:30 – 5 pm
Monday August 14, 2 – 6 pm
Tuesday August 15, 2 – 6 pm
Wednesday August 16, 2 – 6 pm

Saturday, August 12, 1 – 2:30 pm
Why Indigenous Knowledge Matters: Creating New Moral Fabrics in Settler Colonial Societies with Christine Migwans

Sunday, August 13, 1 – 2:30 pm
The History of Brick-Making with Ed Freeman

Thursday August 17, 6:30 – 8 pm
Performance of “To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation”

Portable Stories
August Fröhls (Aman Sandhu and Swapnaa Tamhane)
Aug 9 to 30

The August Fröhls collective (led by artists/curators Aman Sandhu and Swapnaa Tamhane) will invite artists and creative practitioners to engage with local forms of storytelling, teaching, object histories, and music, within a site-specific installation on the plaza inspired by the portable classroom.

For artists/curators August Fröhls (Aman Sandhu and Swapnaa Tamhane), a significant amount of their early education in the Greater Toronto Area (specifically Scarborough and Markham) was spent in portable classrooms. Sandhu and Tamhane explore their speculative hypothesis that the presence of portable classrooms at Canadian schools could be viewed in parallel to the influx of immigrants into the Canadian landscape.

Originally intended as temporary space solutions, portable classrooms eventually became permanent infrastructure, set in place to provide extra room for a population growth that the main buildings could not have anticipated. Propositioning the portable as a space for peripheral pedagogy and histories, August Fröhls will create a site-specific outdoor installation harkening to the recognizable materials of the portable structure, and present a series of events that elicit lesser-known histories. Furthermore, operating from a belief that improvisation is a strong catalyst for the unearthing of third-space, collaged histories, improvisation as related to forms of pedagogy, storytelling, and history of objects will be explored throughout the duration of Portable Stories.

Friday August 11, 6 pm – 8:30 pm
The Peripheral Histories of Asha Puthli

Monday August 14, 6 – 8 pm
Documentary Screening: Imagine The Sound (1981)

Thursday August 17, 5 – 6:30 pm
Alternative Forms of Learning

Friday August 25, 6 – 7:30 pm
Presenting Stories about Objects from Peripheral Histories with Aanchal Malhotra

Tuesday August 29, 6 – 7:30 pm
Presenting Stories about Objects from Peripheral Histories with Sameer Farooq

Collecting Personal Archives
soJin Chun in collaboration with The Truth & Dare Project
Aug 22 to 31

In partnership with Gallery 44’s OUTREACH program and The Truth & Dare Project, local artist soJin Chun worked with a group of young Muslim women from Toronto to present a multi-media exhibition that brings their unique visions to life. These works were developed and produced as part of a two month workshop series held at The 519.

Chun worked with the group of Muslim women using a more personal and contemporary model of the archives, expanding its meaning to include personal photo albums, images shot by participants, as well as objects collected by the participants that are meaningful in their lives.

The workshop series, which occurred in April and May, enabled the participants to engage within the structure of a formal art gallery to present their visions. During the exhibition period, the space will be activated to create dialogue regarding identity, politics, belonging, and displacement from their unique perspectives as contemporary Muslim women.

Collecting Personal Archives features the following artists from The Truth & Dare Project: Zahra Agjee, Samaa Ahmed, Ifrah Akram, Nasim Asgari, Habiba El-Sayed, Manaal N. Farooqi, Amina Ibrahim, Zahra Komeylian, Rola Kuidir, Lana Kuidir, Meral Pasha, and Aniqa Tabassum Rahman.

Friday August 25, 5 – 8 pm
Opening Celebration

Saturday August 26, 1 – 5 pm
Disrupting Archives

Presenting Sponsor

Collecting Personal Archives Project Supporter
Noreen Taylor C.M. & David Staines C.M., O.Ont

Project Supporters
Dr. Lorna Marsden & Dr. Edward Harvey
Susan Crocker & John Hunkin

Programming Partners