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Toronto intends to become a world leader in public art


Toronto City Council adopts public art strategy for Toronto

Toronto City Council adopted a report called Toronto Public Art Strategy 2020-2030: Creativity and Community Everywhere to champion public art in city-building. By implementing this strategy, the City intends to make Toronto a global leader in public art.

Dean Drever, Eagle V.1, 2017, commissioned by Ferncastle (The Esplanade Inc.)

The strategy seeks to extend the benefits of public art city-wide and build on public art’s ability to advance broader city-building priorities such as equity and inclusion, environmental resiliency and reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

The City of Toronto’s vision for public art is to promote new and innovative approaches to its creation, to tell stories that build and connect artists and communities to place, and to have artworks in every neighbourhood.

Twenty-one actions are recommended in the strategy to advance public art across Toronto and heighten the impact of the City’s public art programs for residents and visitors. As declared by Mayor Tory last month, the Year of Public Art in 2021 will be the first major new programming initiative related to the strategy.

Henry Moore, Three Way Disk No. 2 (The Archer), AGO 1967

“Toronto’s arts and culture sector is vibrant, diverse and growing and it is a key component of the economic success of this city,” stated Mayor John Tory in the City’s official press release. “I’m proud that under my leadership, the City has enhanced its commitment to arts and culture and with this new strategy we will ensure that Toronto is more surprising, beautiful, challenging and inspiring in how it is experienced by residents across the city every day.”

More than 1,500 works of public art can be found across Toronto – including works commissioned by the City, its agencies, developers, arts organisations and business improvement areas. The City currently delivers three major public art programs: the City of Toronto Public Art and Monuments Collection, the Percent for Public Art Program and StreetARToronto. Together, these programs have had a major impact on the city’s urban fabric, assembling a collection of public art that, in the number of works alone, is of international significance. This new strategy builds on these strong foundations to enhance their collective impact.

Derek Besant, Flatiron Building, 1980

The development of the City’s new public art strategy was guided by an advisory committee of community and cultural leaders, research on best practices in the field, and a comprehensive community and stakeholder consultation process.

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