Call for Expressions of Interest: George Street Public Art Program, City of Toronto

Rendering of the exterior and public realm of George Street Revitalization Project. Courtesy of Montgomery Sisam.

View of George Street Revitalization Project. Courtesy of Montgomery Sisam.

CITY OF TORONTO
CALL TO ARTISTS FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST (EOI)
FOR THE GEORGE STREET REVITALIZATION PROJECT PUBLIC ART PROGRAM

Value of the Awarded Commissions: from $250,000.00 to $500,000.00 CAD (+HST)
Submission Deadline: August 30, 2021 at 4 p.m.

Project Overview

The City of Toronto invites professional artists (including artist teams) to submit their Expression of Interest to the first stage of a two-stage competition to develop artwork as part of the George Street Revitalization Project (GSRP).

The GSRP combines community, social and health supports and housing services in one connected city block. The proposed facility will replace the Seaton House emergency shelter and renew some vacant heritage residential sites such as the historically-significant Fegan House, with a new facility that will contain a City-operated long-term care home, transitional housing with supports, a transitional shelter for women and men, an emergency shelter for men and a community hub for residents and neighbours. Construction is anticipated to start in summer 2022 and end in 2026.

Ward 13: Toronto Centre


Public Art Opportunities

The City of Toronto’s new Public Art Strategy outlines the City’s commitment to public art created for, and with the input of, Toronto communities, and to create opportunities for artists of diverse backgrounds, experience and practice. We welcome submissions from all artists including those who are Indigenous, Black, and/or racialized; those with various intersectional social identities; those with lived experience of mental health issues and/or housing insecurity and artists who may not have previously worked in the public realm. ArtworxTO, the City’s Year of Public Art, will take place in 2021 as part of the City’s commitment to artists and art as part of COVID-19 recovery. All new commissions will be included in the ArtworxTO program wherever possible.

The GSRP is located in the Garden District neighbourhood of Toronto’s downtown core, stretching from Allan Gardens in the north to Moss Park in the south, and includes the connecting George and Pembroke Streets. GSRP lies within the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is currently home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit. The area continues to be significant to urban Indigenous communities and is the location of many Indigenous-focused resources and service providers including The Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training, Anishnawbe Health Toronto and more. George Street intersects with the proposed Indigenous Business District (on Dundas Street East between Church and Jarvis Streets), as well as Allan Gardens, which is an Indigenous gathering place.

There are five public art opportunities in the GSRP Public Art Program titled, Accommodations. The GSRP will create public infrastructure that aims to provide private space to those who are underhoused or experience housing insecurity and income precarity. Accommodations implies a place to live or settle as well as an approach that makes accommodations to site, context and personhood. We envision artworks that accommodate an understanding of the long history of this place as land, knowledge and community. And we anticipate artworks that are human-centred, accommodating differing and shared ways of life, movement and identification. We are seeking to work with artists who use socially-engaged approaches within their art practices, equalizing process and production in a manner that defines engagement with one or more communities as an essential aspect of determining the parameters of the final artwork.

Project 1. Exterior Gathering Space for the shelter and transitional housing clients
$500,000 total art budget

Project 2. Interior or Exterior Gathering Space for the long-term care residents
$500,000 total art budget

Project 3. Orientation
$250,000 total art budget

Project 4. Transition
$250,000 total art budget

Project 5. Interiors
$250,000 total art budget


Competition Process

This is a two-stage, open, international competition for professional artists as defined by the Canada Council for the Arts.

A specially convened selection panel, composed of a majority of practicing arts professionals as well as community members, will be established for this competition, which will be co-chaired by curators Jenifer Papararo and Lisa Myers.

Stage 1: Request for Expression of Interest: July 19 – August 30, 2021

Stage 1 is an open call to artists, requesting an Expression of Interest (EOI) submission as outlined in the full EOI document. A shortlist of approximately five (5) artists will be selected for each art opportunity, based on artistic excellence and demonstrated or perceived ability to create and execute an engaging public artwork that considers the site and context.

Online information sessions will be scheduled in late July and mid-August (dates to be confirmed) and will be open to all prospective artists.

Stage 2: Request for Conceptual Approach: September 22 – November 8, 2021

Short-listed artists will be notified in late September 2021 and invited to submit a proposal outlining their conceptual approach including their area of focus and their proposed research and/or engagement process. A detailed design proposal will not be required at this stage. Stage 2 requirements will be provided along with an Artist Resource Dossier containing some initial research and information about the site and context. Short-listed artists will be paid a fee of $2,000.00 (+HST) for this stage. Travel for site visits would be through a separate budget. Travel is still to be confirmed and will consider pandemic restrictions.


Timelines

July 19, 2021: Expression of Interest issued
August 23, 2021: Last day to register and for questions to be submitted
August 30, 2021: Submissions due
September 22, 2021: Short-listed artists notified
November 8, 2021: Stage 2 Conceptual Approach proposals due
Late November 2021: Artist selection
December 2021 to December 2026: Art developed and delivered (subject to GSRP building schedule)

To register for this call and to receive the full EOI document with project descriptions and submission requirements, and links and dates for the online information sessions, please send an email to: info@workshopto.ca

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