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Image credit: Looking Up (2021) by Anna Pogossyan.

Month-long public art celebration features artists from OCAD U 

As Toronto launches its Year of Public Art, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OCAD U artists are featuring their work in a variety of locations across the city.

Among the extensive collection of public art, Torontonians can explore the work of OCAD U emerging artists and art collectives, featured in Emerge: A Public Art Walkdown, a public art celebration.

Created in partnership with Kolab Project, five new artworks will be situated in public spaces throughout downtown Toronto from October 1 to 29, 2021. A subsidiary of Auxly Cannabis Group, Kolab Project is a Toronto-based platform dedicated to arts, design, and culture.

The works explore the theme of ‘emerging,’ recognizing an ‘art-starved public emerging back into public spaces after prolonged pandemic isolation.’

The project is a sequel to The Next Fourteen Days, which provided grants for 14 projects created by OCAD U senior students, recent alumni and faculty and spoke to a time of physical distancing and self-isolation.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to showcase the extraordinary talent of our emerging artists through this public art project and are very grateful for the support from Auxly and the Kolab Project,” says Ana Serrano, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. “The project allows the public to re-discover our public spaces with its compelling exploration of a post-lockdown world.”

OCAD University’s RBC Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers (CEAD) provided guidance and encouragement to all participating artists as they strived to realize their ambitious public projects. The Centre’s mission is to support the early-career advancement of all students and recent alumni at OCAD U.

“It was inspiring to witness the dedication and perseverance of these emerging artists,” says Miles Collyer, Manager, Career Development, CEAD. “Throughout the pandemic’s waves of lockdowns, each held dear to the goal of activating public space and sharing their stories with our city.”

The public art celebration includes new-media pieces from five emerging artists and art collectives from OCAD U:

Looking Up by Anna Pogossyan
Location: OCAD U campus (51 McCaul St.)
Dates: October 1 to 29, 2021

Looking Up is a reflection on the year 2020. Integrated into the building and everyday surroundings, ‘hidden in plain sight,’ this installation is something one stumbles upon on their daily commute, which animates the environment and makes one pause for a moment.’

Ephemeral Habitat by LinJuan Dai + Kaleman A. Silva
Location: RendezViews Art Park (229 Richmond St. W)
Dates: October 13 to 15, 2021 (Artists present: Oct. 13, 4 to 8 p.m.; Oct. 14 and 15, 6 to 10 p.m.)

Ephemeral Habitat explores a sense of balance within the landscape discipline and structure discipline of architecture and is surprised by how each element can influence the other. This installation comprises a rectangular modular structure that sets to be the framework for the plant composition. As the plants are being given away to the audience throughout the day, the rectangular form reveals itself in different conditions, responding to the fourth-dimensional aspect of time in architecture.”

Real Indian by Kora Empey
Location: George Chuvalo Community Centre (50 Sousa Mendes St.)
Dates: October 1 to 29, 2021

Real Indian was created in response to the 2019 amendments made to the Indian Act which sought to remove sex-based inequalities that disadvantaged Indigenous women. These revisions granted me and my sister, along with thousands of other Canadians, their certificate of Indian status and at age 20 I became a “real Indian” in the eyes of the government.”

Beach Beneath the Pavement by Displaced Collective

  • East York’s Ravine (89 Coxwell Blvd.)
  • Unison Gender Clinic (Oakwood and Vaughan)
  • Christie Pits Park
  • The Village (Wellesley and Church Streets)

Dates: October 1 to 29, 2021

Beach Beneath the Pavement, is a binaural sonic walk that explores an imagined Toronto through the lens of 5 QTBIPOC individuals— project creators, Kasra Goodarznezhad, Tahreem Alvi, and Taymah Armatrading and invited community artists Marie Sotto and Siobhan Johnson. Each artist was invited to share a story, building a network of voices that have been systemically obfuscated within the city’s landscape.”

Simular by Nick Alexander and Priya Bandodkar
Location: 82 Bond St.
Dates: October 20 to 22 and October 27 to 29, 2021

“The courtyard of Mackenzie House in downtown Toronto will seem to be deconstructed, with familiar features repurposed into a wheeling starscape around the participants. Colonial-era stonework will serve as a projection surface for a digitally-reconstructed hyperreal kinetic rendition of the space, surrounding the guests.”

Kolab Project is a cannabis brand, wholly owned by Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (TSX – XLY) (“Auxly”), that aims to connect with cannabis enthusiasts who have an appreciation for the positive impact that art, culture, and design have on humanity. In April, 2020, Auxly and OCAD U announced a partnership to enhance the community experience, foster faculty innovation and enrich academic programming at OCAD U – Emerge: A Public Art Walkdown is a realization of this partnership.

More information about the artists and their work can be found on the Kolab Project website.

News Summary
OCAD University and Kolab Project announce the launch of Emerge: A Public Art Walkdown, a public-art celebration from five emerging artists and art collectives from OCAD U situated in public spaces throughout downtown Toronto during October.
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Periwinkle Moon I, Digital Painting 2020 (Dreamscape Series) by Courtney Dookwah.

Periwinkle Moon I, Digital Painting 2020 (Dreamscape Series) by Courtney Dookwah.

This fall, Toronto residents will once again be able to safely explore their city neighbourhoods to view large-scale projections of artists’ works on local buildings as part of BigArtTO.

The public outdoor art celebration was an initiative launched last fall as part of ShowLoveTO to connect with neighbours, support local businesses and artists, and allow people to explore their city neighbourhoods to help rebuild the social and economic fabric of Toronto.

Along with the BigArtTO collaborators, the City of Toronto and AVA Animation & Visual Arts Inc., OCAD University is proud to play a role in offering residents an opportunity to explore artwork outdoors, while respecting public health guidelines, with more than 350 hours of illuminated artworks.

Programming begins with three evening activations around the city (September 15 to 18, from 7:45 to 10:45 p.m.), including the work of OCAD U student and visual artist Courtney Dookwah and Enna Kim.

Dookwah’s artwork combines an exploration of the non-material world and expressions of her consciousness. Her body of work channels energies that empower and enlighten the viewer through colour and motion; materializing in the form of oil paintings, illustrations, and digital media work.

  • Dreamscapes by Courtney Dookwah at Lawrence Heights Community Centre,

5 Replin Rd. (Eglinton-Lawrence). Presented in partnership with OCAD University, with special thanks to Lawrence Heights Community Centre and Toronto Community Housing.

  • Red Crowned Crane by Enna Kim

This work was originally presented as part of Movement/Nature: Guided Exercises by Artists, an online project for the Art Gallery of Ontario curated by OCAD University’s Criticism and Curatorial Practice MFA program students.

Location: Toronto Public Library – Parkdale Branch, 1291 Queen St. W. (Parkdale-High Park)

Additional activations presented with OCAD University include:

September 22 to 25, 2021, from 7:45 to 10:45 p.m.

Angular Translucence by Idalina Leandro and “Encuentros/Encounters” by Luis Cisneros.

Location: Projected onto Shepherd Manor Apartment, 125 Bonis Ave. Watch from the North Parking lot of Agincourt Mall. (Scarborough-Agincourt)

September 29 to October 2, from 7:15 to 10:30 p.m.

Navigating the Latent by Arshia Sobhan Sarbandi, Presented with OCAD University

Navigating the Latent is an endeavour to rethink the role of modern technology in the development of Islamic calligraphy in digital media. It explores the latent potentials of this rich art form using machine learning by training state-of-the-art neural networks with thousands of calligraphy data samples, each reduced to its most fundamental visual elements covering all possible alternative forms and elongations within the limitations of the currently available digital tools. 

Location: Building T – Pumping Station/Pumphouse Park, 1091 Eastern Ave. View from Coxwell Ave. at Eastern Ave. (Toronto-Danforth)

Scarborough Made by Alex Narvaez and Sid Naidu, Presented with OCAD University.

Scarborough Made is a social impact art project created by Alex Narvaez and Sid Naidu to document stories of humanity in Toronto’s East. Through BigArtTO, “Scarborough Made” will share a highlight reel of stories that help amplify the powerful voices and narratives found in Scarborough. Originally launched in 2019, the photo and docu-series aims to share stories from the everyday heroes of our communities.

Location: Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr. (Scarborough Centre)

October 6 to 9, 2021 from 7:15 to 10:15 p.m.

Magi System by Tobias Williams, presented with OCAD University and supported by Equinix and Downtown AutoGroup.

Magi System is a three-channel video piece which visually explores the triangular relationship between users’ platforms and algorithms that define the current aesthetic ecosystem of the web.

Location: Equinix Data Centre, 45 Parliament St. (Toronto Centre)

October 13 to 16, 2021, from 7 to 10 p.m.

OCAD University Student Animators

Returning to our best-attended BigArtTO location in 2020, OCAD University students will once again animate the façade of the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant. A popular site for the City of Toronto’s Doors Open program, the structure is still an active water treatment plant. This custom and site-specific artwork will take into consideration the building’s history, purpose, and art deco designs.

Location: R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, 2701 Queen St. E. (Scarborough Southwest)

October 20 to 23, 2021, from 6:45 to 9:45 p.m.

OCAD University Student Animators

Presented with OCAD University and the Aga Khan Museum.

The west-facing façade of the Aga Khan Museum will be fully illuminated by OCAD University student artists. Watch the activations from the beautiful adjacent park and serene landscaped garden. The aim of the Aga Khan Museum is to foster a greater appreciation of the contributions that Muslim arts and culture has made to world heritage.

Location: Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr. (Don Valley East)

November 3 to 6, 2020 from 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

OCAD University Student Animators

OCAD University student animators will design site-specific artwork for the Princess Park Clock Tower beside the Empress Walk. The structure was originally built as part of North York’s Ivan M. Nelson Fire Station. The structure was torn down in 1989, but the hose tower was preserved.

Location: Princess Park Clock Tower, 214 Doris Ave. (Willowdale – Ward 18)

OCAD University Student Animators

Guild Park is well-known for the being the home of architectural fragments taken from dozens of demolished buildings. OCAD University student animators will illuminate the grand pillared structure, therefore shining light on some of Toronto’s urban history.

Location: Guild Park, 201 Guildwood Parkway (Scarborough-Guildwood)

November 9 to 13, 2021 from 5:15 to 8:15 p.m.

“it was always more than just the desire to be known” by OCAD U grad Sophia Oppel

“it was always more than just the desire to be known” takes the form of a meditation on the process of rendering a transparent texture in order to consider the larger politics of transparency and legibility in a datafied surround. Centred around a text piece, the work features a series of 3D scans and 3D models with transparent textures applied to them.

Location: University of Toronto Scarborough Student Centre, 1265 Military Trail (Scarborough-Rouge Park)

November 17 to 20 from 5 to 8 p.m.

BigArtTO featuring "Tuesday" by Nelson Wu, "Speaking Fruit" by Farrah Miranda, and "a recipe for a bleeding heart" by Basil AlZeri 

The program features video-based works by artists Nelson Wu, Farrah Miranda, and Basil AlZeri who approach food through bodied, material sites that reflect our relationships to one another, the land, and ourselves. Nelson Wu is a Chinese Canadian artist who creates pixel art and illustration. Graduating from OCAD University, he is currently working in the video game and entertainment industry. He has produced a variety of illustrations, pixel art, and animations. He is inspired by his experiences in Asia; a sense of nostalgia and surrealism are often themes present in the work.

Location: Fairview Library, 35 Fairview Mall Dr., North York

November 23 to 27 from 7:45 to 10:45 p.m.

OCAD University Student Animators (presented with OCAD University and supported by Oxford Properties).

Each of the BigArtTO program's 29 sites will digitally project neighbourhood-specific customized artwork created by Toronto artists onto local buildings or landmarks. The program runs for 11 weeks, with two to three locations per week. Each projection will play on a loop for three hours, Wednesday through Saturday, providing free, temporary public art until November 27.

Location: Richmond-Adelaide Centre, 120 Adelaide St. W. (Spadina-Fort York)

Originally launched in September 2020, BigArtTO, the programming was temporarily postponed in November 2020, in response to the Provincial Government announcement of lockdown.

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

News Summary
Several OCAD U emerging artists will be featured as part of the outdoor public art exhibition.

OCAD U student group Art in Public Spaces invites you to their speaker series of artists and members of the Toronto public art world who discuss their work, including inspiration, proposals, fabrication, and they will respond to your questions:

Speaker: Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins
Date: Monday, December 7, 2020
Time: 3:00 to 3:45 p.m. EST
Delivery Platform: Microsoft Teams

After their recent presentation for the City of Markham Public Art Program,  Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins will join us to speak about the process of breaking into public art. Since 2000, the pair have been making large-format sculpture, mixed media, installation and electronic art. Intervening upon institutional and public spaces, their work often contextualizes visual art within everyday life, exposing the tensions arising between the historicity, formalism and politicization of the artwork to produce new meanings from them. Marman and posit strategies of visual resistance, confrontation, and the contrarian. They use paradox and authorial de-centering to mirror homogeneous political landscapes in an attempt to resist the ubiquity that overshadows all critique of them. They achieve this through such strategies as pairing styles of post-minimalism and electronic art, and by means of high-art formalism and abstraction, transliterated into popular aesthetics. Marman and Borins often express these ideas with ironical, cynical humour and attendant ambiguity.

Sign up to participate: follow this link to the event registration page:

Click on the date AND the time. Fill in your name and OCAD U 365 email address and submit!
The event will appear in your Outlook Calendar with a new link to follow on the date/time of the workshop.

Art in Public Spaces club is a public art incubator for students and grads at OCAD U, generating a supportive community to critique, advise, and, if desired, collaborate on public art submissions.

For more information about this student group and others, visit

Venue & Address
Microsoft Teams

OCAD U student group Art in Public Spaces invites you to their speaker series of artists and members of the Toronto public art world who discuss their work, including inspiration, proposals, fabrication, and they will respond to your questions.

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Photo by Vladimir Kanic.

We are currently seeking up to seven artists or creative teams to create new projects, or to reiterate existing works for site-specific temporary public art projections! We ask artists to consider ideas of community, reflection and inclusion in our time of change and social unrest.

OCAD U and The City of Toronto invite artists or artist teams residing in Toronto to submit their credentials, examples of prior experience and conceptual approaches (film, animation, photographs, multimedia works) for outdoor projection, as part of the ongoing public art initiative BigArtTO.

BigArtTO is a City-wide temporary public art campaign to help residents feel comfortable exploring their neighbourhoods again, providing opportunities for local artists, driving economic and cultural development, and generating anticipation for ArtworxTO, Toronto’s Year of Pubic Art 2021.

The program comprises 25 sites, one in each of the City’s Wards, promoting access to artwork across the city, without the need for residents to leave their local areas. BigArtTO is a celebration of Toronto’s creative, critical, collective Imaginary. It is about the big ideas, big images and powerful voices that make this city of Toronto a global leader. Big Art TO is about the city we will live in and the city we want—open, safe, and inclusive. Big Art TO is also an opportunity for artists, designers and media makers to get back to work.

BigArtTO will run for 13 weeks, from September 16 to December 5, with each week boasting one or two locations. Each projection in each Ward will play continuously for 3-4 hours, Wednesday through Saturday. Projected works are typically 3-5 minutes in length.


SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Monday, October 19th, 2020 (11:59 EST)

NOTIFICATION: Friday, October 30th, 2020


This is a call open to emerging, professional artists, or artist teams residing in the GTA.


Expressions of Interest must be submitted by email to:

You are asked to include the following in a single PDF:

●      Expression of Interest citing a preference for a City Ward (½ page max)

●      Bio (100 words max)

●      Current CV (3 pages max)

●      Portfolio (with specific examples of work for projection in BigArtTO) 

If you wish to include video documentation, it should be uploaded to a site such as YouTube or Vimeo and linked in the application. Regardless of duration, please include full videos. Due to time constraints, the selection committee may only view up to five minutes of each video.

We thank all artists contributing their time and professional work for this Expression of Interest. Applications that do not adhere to these criteria or are incomplete will be disqualified.


Each project will receive a fee of up to $2000.00 toward the creation or adaptation, preparation and presentation of their projects for specific City of Toronto sites, working in collaboration with creative partner AVA Animation and Visual Arts Inc..


All submitted works are reviewed by our Advisory Committee.

SELECTION COMMITTEE Andrea Fatona, Luke Parnell, Tommy Truong, Katriina Campitelli - City of Toronto (non-voting), Emma Lopez - AVA Animations (non-voting), Glen Lowry - OCAD University (non-voting)

LOCATIONS (dates and locations are subject to change)

Site 1: Ward 2 - Etobicoke (Etobicoke Olympium); November 11 - 14

Site 2: Ward 15 - Don Valley West (Leaside Memorial Gardens); November 11 - 14

Site 3: Ward 4 - Parkdale- High Park (Toronto Public Library - Parkdale Branch); November 18 - 2

Site 4: Ward 8 - Eglinton - Lawrence (Lawrence Heights Community Centre); November 25 - 28

Site 5: Ward 24 - Scarborough - Guildwood (2 Meadowglen Pl.); November 25 - 28

Site 6: Ward 13 - Toronto Centre (Equinix Data Centre); December 2 - 5

Site 7: Ward 21 - Scarborough Centre (Scarborough Civic Centre); December 2 - 5

The Elevator to You by Ian Keteku

Venue & Address
25 City of Toronto Wards

OCAD U and The City of Toronto invite artists or artist teams residing in Toronto to submit their credentials, examples of prior experience and conceptual approaches (film, animation, photographs, multimedia works) for outdoor projection, as part of the ongoing public art initiative BigArtTO.

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Trajan Pro 10 by Shaheer Zazai, photo by Vladimir Kanic
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Jihee Min selected for Public Art Mentorship

OCAD University’s alumna Jihee Min is the selected artist mentee for a Public Art Mentorship launched by The Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Space (STEPS) Initiative, a charitable organization that works with large scale public artworks, along with Brad Golden + Co.  There were more than 125 applicants from across the country.

The Public Art Mentorship will run until December 2019, giving Jihee Min the opportunity to develop a full understanding of large-scale public artworks while gaining valuable portfolio-building experience. The program is managed under the mentorship of Steve Driscoll, a Canadian artist who has a contemporary approach regarding traditional Canadian landscape.

Jihee Min received a BFA with Honours in Sculpture & Installation from OCAD U in 2005. She uses her own experiences to explore the idea of identity and cultural dislocation. The artist works with a wide range of media such as drawing, performance and photography and has received many grants, awards and scholarships.

Click here to learn more about Jihee Min’s work.

Jennifer Fryer and Rosena Fung develop art panel in St. James Town

OCAD alumni Jennifer Fryer and Rosena Fung have developed an art panel for Tridel Corporation in partnership with The PATCH Project (under the STEPS Initiative) and the students of Art City, a charitable organization that offers after-school art programs to kids residing in St. James Town.

The project titled “Our City, Our Home” celebrates Toronto and the St. James Town’s neighbourhood. With joyful colours, the art panel celebrates the differences and similarities of residents and visitors of the area. The work is part of the St. James Town Cultural Plan,  that uses temporary public art initiatives to engage local residents.

Jennifer Fryer studied Illustration at OCAD U and her work has appeared in prominent news outlets such as the National Post and the Toronto Star. Rosena Fung is also an OCAD U Illustration graduate and her work has been included in major news outlets such as The Globe and Mail and The Boston Globe.

Click here to learn more about Jennifer Fryer and here for Rosena Fung’s work.

Faculty of Art
Together, by Jihee Min, a participatory mural installation created for CreativeTO
Our City, Our Home by Jennifer Fryer, Rosena Fung and the students of Art City, highlights the diversity of St. James Town


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