Call to Artists: New Commissions Addressing Equity in Public Space

Deadline for Submissions: July 24, 2020


Evergreen invites artists and artist collectives to submit proposals for temporary public art projects to be presented at Evergreen Brick Works in fall 2020.

Evergreen Brick Works is situated in the heart of Toronto’s Don River Valley and the broader city-wide ravine system. For the past four years, Evergreen’s public art program has engaged critical questions surrounding the urban landscape and the public realm, the future of cities, sustainability, Indigenous land relationships and connections between natural and built environments.

The events of the past 4 months, with the global impact of COVID-19 and worldwide protests in support of Black Lives Matter, have further politicized public space. The essential nature of accessible public green space has never been clearer. In this moment, conversations and events centered on racial inequities in public spaces are also being brought forward. Experiences of systemic racism and injustice lived by BIPOC communities in public spaces are driving new conversations, from pervasive police violence to the challenges faced by Black birders in urban parks. In 2020, this is inextricable from Indigenous land rights, environmental racism, public health, access to affordable housing, and more. These issues play out in parks, streets, playgrounds and public spaces across Toronto and many other global cities.

Proposed projects might address (but are not limited to) the following inquiries:

  • What role does public space play in imagining a better future in urban centres?
  • How can we imagine and create safe public spaces for all Toronto residents?
  • What stories, histories and voices are missing from Toronto’s green spaces?
  • How does the quality of public space differ across the city?
  • What might equitable access to the land look like?
  • How is this accomplished on shared Indigenous territories?
  • What would it look like to create the conditions for all to play, walk, run, bike, practice ceremony, sleep and birdwatch throughout public parks and the ravines?
  • How do notions of placemaking and placekeeping support in re-imagining public space?
  • What role can anti-monumental public art play in creating new narratives and experiences in public space?

Evergreen will support 2-3 artists in creating and presenting new public art works exploring these and other critical questions this fall at Evergreen Brick Works. Projects should be ephemeral in nature, and proposals are welcome across artistic media, from small-scale sculptural interventions, to performance, murals, land art, sound, text works, projections, and more.

This program is led by Kari Cwynar, Senior Curatorial Advisor at Evergreen.


This program is open to professional artists in all stages of their careers, working independently or in collectives. Previous experience presenting work in public spaces is an asset, but not required. Given current travel restrictions, Evergreen is unable to support travel for this project and will prioritize local and Ontario-based artists.


Please include, in one PDF document:

  • A one-page statement of intent, describing the idea for the project, its engagement with the site and with the call for proposals, and connection to the artist’s practice
  • CV or resume
  • Images of past work, including links to website or video if applicable
  • Contact information for 2 references


Artist fee: $4,000
Materials and production: up to $4,500

Selected artists will work with Evergreen staff to develop final project and budget.


Submissions will be reviewed by the following jury:

Amy Lam, Artist
Yaniya Lee, Features Editor, Canadian Art
Wanda Nanibush, Curator, Indigenous Art, Art Gallery of Ontario

The jury will select 2-3 artists to develop their works for presentation in fall 2020.

Please send submissions to Julia Girmenia at by 6pm on July 24, 2020.

Projects will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Critical engagement with the site, with Toronto’s publics (virtual or in person) and with issues of equity in the public realm
  • Demonstrated ability of the applicant to carry out the project as outlined
  • Feasibility of the project given the specificities of the site
  • Financial viability of the project

Evergreen is committed to featuring an inclusive group of artists working in different artistic disciplines, and reflective of Toronto’s cultural, social, gender and geographic diversity.


  • Selected artists will work with Evergreen staff to develop their final projects, final budgets and strategies for engaging audiences.
  • Evergreen will support artists as needed with research and information about the local landscape and ravine system.


June 29: Call for Proposals Announced
July 14: Q+A and application support for artists via Zoom
July 24: Deadline for Submissions
July 30: Announcement of Selected Artists
August-October: Project Development
October-November: Project Launch


Evergreen is a national not for profit organization dedicated to making Cities Flourish. Since 1991, Evergreen has been working to facilitate change through convening, collaborating and catalyzing ideas into action. Based out of our facility at Evergreen Brick Works, we’ve been running a series of programs with an emphasis on healthy urban environments in our schools, public spaces, housing, transit systems and communities themselves. Evergreen’s values are connection, innovation and sustainability, and we ensure that these are integral and highlighted in all of the projects and programs we work on.

Evergreen acknowledges that the Brick Works site is built on Indigenous territory, on the traditional homelands of the Wandat, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabek Confederacies. This territory is in relation to the Dish with One Spoon Covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabek Confederacies and allies to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. Toronto continues to be home to Indigenous peoples from many different nations across Turtle Island. Each day we are grateful to have the opportunity to live on these territories and to work within the community as a whole.


Evergreen’s Art Program engages residents of and visitors to Toronto with the Evergreen Brick Works site and surrounding ravine system via a series of site-responsive art projects with established and emerging contemporary artists. Evergreen’s approach to art is multi-pronged, inviting artists to activate underutilized sites, collaborate with Evergreen’s programs, partners and visitors, and tell the stories of site, the city and the surrounding river valley. To learn more, please visit the


For information on this program please visit the full Call to Artists or contact Julia Girmenia:

To request an invitation to the artists’ Q&A Zoom call with Evergreen staff on July 14, or to receive an info sheet on the available sites at Evergreen Brick Works, please contact Julia.