Art Spin Presents Public Sweat & Introduces the Artists

Geospheric Sweatbath by Christie Pearson. Photo: Priam Thomas.

Art Spin has Announced the Roster of Artists for Public Sweat

Public Sweat
Harbourfront Centre, Toronto
March 15 – April 23, 2023

Art. Heat. Community.

Experience the fusion of art, sauna culture, and sweat bathing.

The creative team behind Art Spin, a Toronto-based arts organization has revealed the artists of Public Sweat, a participatory sauna experience and platform for contemporary art which is now open at Harbourfront Centre. Art Spin has commissioned five artist-designed saunas for visitors to experience at Public Sweat by FASTWÜRMS, Chris Foster, Simone Jones, Christie Pearson and SHEEEP.

A variety of artworks from across artistic disciplines are exhibited throughout the Public Sweat event space. Featured artists include Mitchell Akiyama, Ghazaleh Avarzamani, Kenneth Bamberg, Tone Bjordam, Chloë Cheuk, Lisa Cristinzo, Rob Cruickshank, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Rihab Essayh, Stein Henningsen, Pia Lindman, Ruth Kaplan, Sami Kero, Mari Keski-Korsu, Alex McLeod, Wrik Mead, Jussi Puikkonen, Stefan Randstrom, and Shaheer Zazai.

Abandoned Splendour by Simone Jones. Photo: Priam Thomas.

There are also live ambient music performances every Thursday night to complement the Public Sweat post-sauna resting experience as part of a sound bath performance series programmed by Akash Bansal. Sound bath artists include LordAUK & Ozone, New Chance, NPNP, Masahiro Takahashi, and Pomelo, with more artists to be announced.

On March 27th, doors will be open for a free artist talk with Simone Jones, Mitchell Akiyama, Rihab Essayh and Reza Nik. While the saunas won’t be running during this event, visitors will have a chance to see the installations and learn more from commissioned artists.

Public Sweat takes place from March 15 to April 23, at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. Visit the Public Sweat website to book a session and learn more.

#VOLCANO_LOV3R by FASTWÜRMS. Photo: Priam Thomas.

What to Expect in the Public Sweat Outdoor Sauna Village:

FASTWÜRMS’ Kim Kozzi and Dai Skuse have transformed the exterior of the recognizable barrel sauna with a large-scale acrylic painting on canvas tarpaulins. Inspired by the intense heat and transformative qualities associated with the sauna experience, this work incorporates the motif of the volcano and the explosive impact of its eruptive and earth making powers in a manner rich with a full spectrum of colour.

A Caress Before Dawn by Rihab Essayh
Rihab Essayh’s Public Sweat project, A Caress Before Dawn, demonstrates the artists’ keen interest in creating immersive environments. In this case, she has created a contemplative cool down space where sweat bathers can go to rest and reacclimate their body temperature while bathing in the rich colour of textiles hand dyed by the artist. This is an unheated resting space within the sauna village. Inspired by principles of care, empathy and belonging, Essayh’s space explores a sense of “radical softness,” a concept that positions the showing of emotions and vulnerability as a political gesture in a society that prioritizes intellect and indifference.

Abandoned Splendour by Simone Jones brings together her passion for film history, video, sculpture and electronics, with an interest in the nature of perception to create a cinematic sauna experience in a form inspired by Victorian-era industrial wood burners. “My sauna, Abandoned Splendor, positions these former industrial giants as spaces of contemplation, loss and wonder,” says Jones, whose design will be enhanced through an intimate soundscape by collaborating artist Mitchell Akiyama.

Garmabeh by SHEEEP references ancient Iranian bath houses that were an important social setting for centuries prior to the introduction of piped water. Garmabeh creates a structure of intricate geometries and materials to make a space that speaks to traditional Iranian medicine’s four main temperaments; hot, cold, dry and wet. SHEEEP is an experimental studio by Reza Nik and Connor Stevens, working at the intersection of community, culture and architecture.

Geospheric Sweatbath by Christie Pearson connects bathing, utopian communities, and the DIY spirit. Pearson, an artist and architect, is the author of Architecture of Bathing: Body, Landscape, Art (MIT Press 2020) and her extensive world travels in pursuit of diverse bathing practices has led to her design that pairs architectural geometry with rich natural materials.

Mobile Sweat by Chris Foster has combined his interest in the social possibilities connected to sauna culture with his experience building saunas to convert a used utility trailer into both a sauna and a vessel for other layers of arts programming. Foster’s nomadic wood-fired mobile sauna design includes an embedded video screen and sound system to allow for further artistic interventions and collaborations. The exterior of the mobile sauna will feature a photographic work by Finnish artist Sami Kero presented with support from the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Art Spin recently presented Chris Foster’s nomadic sauna as part of a curated Mobile Sweat experience, featuring sound and video art, at the Festival of Cool at Harbourfront Centre for the finale to Harbourfront’s year-long cultural initiative, Nordic Bridges, fostering cultural exchange between the Nordic region and Canada.

A specially commissioned Public Sweat anthology, a small collection of texts selected by mg hamilton, is available for participants to peruse in the lounge, or to purchase as part of an edition. The publication features bathing-related texts by contributors Letticia Cosbert Miller, Peter Morin, Jamie Ross, and Fan Wu.

A Caress Before Dawn by Rihab Essayh. Photo: Priam Thomas.

A series of Community Nights at Public Sweat include:

  • Queer & BIPOC Community Night: March 21, 2023 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m
  • BIPOC Community Night: March 28, 2023 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Trans & Nonbinary Community Night: April 4, 2023 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Queer Community Night: April 7, 2023 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
  • Accessibility Community Night: April 18, 2023 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Single tickets to Public Sweat range from $25-35 with options to purchase 4-Pass tickets for multiple visits. Ticket prices include all applicable fees and taxes.

Public Sweat Dates: March 15 – April 23, 2023
Hours: Timed entries starting between, 4pm to 9pm (Tuesday-Thursday), 1:30pm to 9pm (Fridays), 11am to 9pm (Saturday & Sunday)
Location: North East Grounds of Harbourfront Centre, 225 Queens Quay W. Toronto, ON M5J 2Y6
Accessibility: The general Public Sweat area, both the indoor lounge and outdoor area are at ground level with no stairs, however some saunas will have steps and barriers to entry. Indoor washrooms are partially accessible. Access details will be updated as information becomes available.

To find our more about Public Sweat and to book your ticket, visit


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Harbourfront Centre is the venue partner for Public Sweat. Public Sweat receives funding support from: The Government of Ontario; the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada; the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport; the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council; the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario; and Waterfront Toronto.