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OCAD U joins City of Toronto in ShowLoveTO initiative

 Photo courtesy: Emma Lopez, AVA Animation & Visual Art Inc
Photo courtesy: Emma Lopez, AVA Animation & Visual Art Inc

Torontonians are in for a series of exciting community experiences, as part of the city’s effort to encourage local tourism and foster community engagement and economic recovery from the COVID-10 pandemic.

ShowLoveTO is a local initiative that will encourage residents to show their love for Toronto by safely connecting with neighbours, supporting local businesses and artists, and exploring their city neighbourhoods to help rebuild the social and economic fabric of Toronto.

The initiative includes a variety of events that will engage Toronto residents this fall. Among them is BigArtTO (September 16 to December 5, 2020),  a city-wide public art celebration featuring free access to over 200 hours of temporary public artworks projected onto local buildings and landmarks in each of Toronto's 25 wards. 

“OCAD University’s participation in the BigArtTO program shines a light on our commitment to strengthen Toronto’s culture and economy while the city recovers, said Ana Serrano, President and Vice Chancellor, OCAD University. “This partnership shows how artists, designers, curators and strategists working with and in communities, can galvanize, inspire and activate the city in its COVID-19 relief recovery.”

Twenty-two of the BigArtTO productions are the result of a close collaboration between the City of Toronto, OCAD University, and AVA Animation & Visual Arts Inc. Three of the BigArtTO productions will be delivered at waterfront locations and will be activated by program partner, The Bentway. These meaningful partnerships will provide opportunities for emerging Toronto-based artists and students.

“This is our moment to show love to the places, spaces, businesses and people that make Toronto such a vibrant, dynamic and diverse city,” said Mayor John Tory. “ShowLoveTO is our way of bringing Torontonians together and providing them new opportunities to experience our great city. I know these past six months have been challenging and we are not through it yet, but together, following Toronto Public Health’s direction, we can safely re-engage with our city and be a part of rebuilding it even better than before.”

Other ShowLoveTO events include HistoricTO, time-ticketed, guided neighbourhood walking tours, DineOutTO, a city-wide promotion showcasing Toronto’s diverse food culture through unique culinary experiences, and StrollTO, a series of self-guided itineraries for each of the City’s wards to motivate resident to discover unexplored shops, places and spaces on their local main streets.

BigArtTO launch event

Screenings begin on September 16 at two locations; Odeyto Indigenous Centre (Seneca College) and Joseph C. Piccininni Community Centre.

The launch event at Odeyto Indigenous Centre features Wawatay, an Indigenous-led animated short-film made in partnership with the Seneca Animation Summer Institute and First Peoples@Seneca. Directed by animation instructor Neil Affleck, the film explores the relationship between the living stories of the Anishinaabe people and the journey of connecting to them. The film offers an introduction to an Indigenous culture and encourages people to partake in the Anishinaabe experience.

The original story was created with the guidance of their elders by Morgan Kagesheongai (Waag Waskinaga First Nation) and Ben Kicknosway (Bkejwanong unceded territory), who drew inspiration from the stories passed down to them through their communities.

Emergence from Emergency: The Elevator to You at the Joseph C. Piccininni Community Centre is the second outdoor installation facilitated by members of the OCAD U writing community. Instructor Ian Keteku created and curated this word art collaboration with St. Clair poet Kliggy, OCAD U Creative Writing student Jenn Kasiama and poet and educational psychologist Sara Al Souqi. The piece is a call to action, inspiring viewers to excavate from within a commitment to be better; to themselves, their neighbours, and the world around them.

The BigArtTO event schedule is available on the City of Toronto website

About ShowLoveTO

ShowLoveTO is produced by the City of Toronto in association with Founding Sponsor American Express. ShowLoveTO programs are sponsored by: Panasonic Canada Inc., LEGO Systems, Inc., The Carpenters and Allied Workers Local 27, Bell, Downtown AutoGroup, and Equinix. ShowLoveTO programs are possible with the support of OCAD University, AVA Animation & Visual Arts Inc. and The Bentway, and Media Partners CHUM 104.5, Virgin Radio and Newstalk 1010.