Toronto, ON., Sept. 22, 2020 — Black Speculative Arts Movement Canada (BSAM Canada) was selected for the first-ever Waterfront Artist Residency Program. The 16-month residency was created and made possible through a partnership between Waterfront Toronto and The Waterfront BIA.
“We are thrilled that our first Artist in Residence is BSAM Canada,” said George Zegarac, CEO of Waterfront Toronto. “Real inclusivity must go beyond physical access to the waterfront, and we must bridge gaps for racialized communities as we contribute to building Toronto’s future. We look forward to seeing how BSAM Canada animates the waterfront in a way that sheds light on the lived experience of the Black creative community.”
The aim of the residency is to create meaningful, experiential encounters with the community, activate underutilized spaces along the lakefront and draw new audiences to the waterfront. BSAM Canada will contribute towards the ongoing dialogue on public art and civic space while exploring safe, creative and exciting ways to engage with communities during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. This residency will complement ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021 declared by Mayor Tory.
“BSAM Canada has created some exceptional work and this latest partnership with the City and Waterfront Toronto is one we are very proud of,” said Tim Kocur, Executive Director of the Waterfront BIA. “With a spotlight on public art in the upcoming year and following our recent partnership with The Bentway on its public art project, It’s All Right Now, we believe this residency couldn’t have come at a better time. We look forward to showcasing even more diverse perspectives.”
The first phase of the residency involves community integration and research, allowing the artists to develop compelling art projects that are relevant to Toronto’s waterfront. Implementation of the waterfront community-inspired art projects will roll out in 2021.
Artists were invited to submit applications to the residency program through an open call issued by the Waterfront BIA and Waterfront Toronto in July 2020. Projects could include workshops, performances, events, urban interventions, and temporary or ephemeral installations. After a jury review of 32 applications, Toronto-based arts collective BSAM Canada was selected. Formed in 2016, the collective works to empower, elevate, and evolve outlets of representation for Black artists that push boundaries of Blackness within arts education and industry using visionary practices.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our collective, which uses the speculative arts to fuel our community advocacy and to re-imagine our relationships to the spaces we frequent, the stories we hear and the images that surround us,” says Nico Taylor, co-leader of the BSAM Canada collective. “We look forward to learning more about the waterfront and the surrounding community so we can effectively use this platform to share our messages and showcase our work. We are excited to get started and we’re already looking ahead to 2021 when we can share our finished art with the public.”