Call to Artists: ArtworxTO Legacy Artist in Residence (AiR) Program

Image of Toronto City Hall by Scott Webb on Unsplash.

ArtworxTO invites Toronto-based professional artists to submit Expressions of Interest to participate in the inaugural ArtworxTO Legacy Artist in Residence (AiR) Program.

The ArtworxTO Legacy Artist in Residence (AiR) Program supports the three pillars upon which both the 10-year Public Art Strategy and Year of Public Art are built: “Creativity + Community—Everywhere.”

The ArtworxTO Legacy Artist in Residence (AiR) Program gets to the heart of embedding creativity in Toronto as a core element in city building. To be piloted with Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022, in its first year this program will embed a professional contemporary artist working within a City of Toronto department.

The three shortlisted departments in the program’s first year are:

  • Court Services
  • Parks, Forestry and Recreation (Parks Development and Capital Projects)
  • Parks, Forestry and Recreation (Urban Forestry)

Artists working alongside City staff will bring new ways of thinking about the work that is done within the City. In its pilot stage, this is an opportunity to be part of something new, and to set a precedent for how the City can work collaboratively with artists. This program has been developed with extensive research into similar programs in other municipalities.

The Artist in Residence term will range from 12 to 18 months, depending on the project timeline that works best for the artist and host department, working collaboratively. The term will include 60 hours (across the first 3-6 months) working alongside a department host in a period of embedded research. Following this, the artist will embark on development of a public-facing project, which may take any number of forms. This is a working residency (not live-in) and we are looking for Toronto-based artists.

The following three City departments have been shortlisted to host the inaugural Artist in Residence. One of the following departments will be selected to be the host, based on best match with artists’ expressions of interest.

Departmental Key Issues:

Court Services
Court Services is seeking to work collaboratively with an artist-in-residence to generate an art project that expresses the division’s commitment to maintaining trust and confidence in the delivery of court services to the public and justice stakeholders.

This commitment to justice remains paramount as the division prepares itself to move to a modern courthouse in the historic St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. This means that as part of the court move project, the division will continue its efforts to provide accessible justice in the heart of the city.

Parks Forestry and Recreation, Parks Development and Capital Projects (PDCP) – Play
Parks are where Torontonians come together to build community, play, celebrate and explore. Public demand for parks, and diverse programs within, continues to grow and has been highlighted during the pandemic. In exploring the concept of play, the artist will take collaborative approach to the identification and creation of more inclusive and diverse opportunities for play, social connection, and community-building in the planning and design of our parks.

This includes:

  • Celebrating and promoting inclusive and diverse sites for play, engagement and interaction for all ages and backgrounds
  • Demonstrating through public art that parks belong to everyone and can be used for leisure, exercise, play, cultural celebration
  • Creating safer and more culturally-accessible spaces within our parks
  • Exploring how Toronto Island might play a more prominent role as a ‘Hub’ for artists and collaborators to explore

Parks, Forestry and Recreation (Urban Forestry) – Ravines
Toronto, often called a “City within a Park,” is home to one of the largest urban ravine systems in the world, extending over 300 km and covering 17 percent of Toronto’s land area. Toronto’s ravines are rich in biodiversity, providing vital habitat for wildlife and ecosystem services, and intersect with a diverse array of cultures and communities who use and perceive ravines in equally diverse ways. Climate change and the effects of urbanization, such as increased use of these areas, are significantly impacting our natural systems. PFR hopes to showcase the benefits of our ravines, the impacts we have on our ravines, and the ongoing commitment to preserving and improving this invaluable resource. The artist will help develop creative approaches to sustainably celebrate these spaces and encourage recognition and respect for nature throughout Toronto.

Budget: $100,000 +HST ($60,000 artist fee plus minimum $40,000 project production budget).

Selection process:

Three departments have been shortlisted through a departmental invitation and selection panel process. In this second stage, artists are asked to submit Artist Statements (and qualifications) specific to the key issue identified by departments (see submission requirements below). The selection panel will select an Artist applicant and host department matched by artistic concern and departmental interest.

To Learn more about this opportunity please attend the following ArtworxTO Symposium: Public Art of Tomorrow panel:

November 24, 2021 – ArtworxTO Legacy AiR: Shortlisted Host Department Workshop Q and A
3:00pm-4:00pm EST

Live panel discussion with representatives of the 3 shortlisted departments. This is an opportunity for artists to ask questions of the departments as you determine your interest and develop your submission.

*Please note that you must register for the Symposium to attend the AiR information panels. Registration is free. (sign up here)

Submission requirements:

All interested artists are encouraged to submit:

  • A written description of artistic practice and interest in working in a unique residency process, working with a City department. Please indicate your department preference and include a response to their key issue and its connection to your practice. (Not to exceed 2 pages (.pdf))
    NOTE: Artists are permitted to respond to more than one department and key issue. These should be submitted as separate submissions.
  • Artist Bio and CV(.pdf)
  • 5 images of past work (.jeg files)

All questions and submissions are to be emailed to:
Please include Legacy AiR Submission as your subject line.

Deadline for EOI submissions: December 13, 2021