Call to Emerging Artists: Public Art Summer Mentorship Program, City of Toronto

Deadline for Submissions: April 3, 2024 at noon

Opportunity

The City of Toronto Public Art Office is offering a new opportunity for three Toronto-based emerging public space artists. Artists need training and experience to transition from studio practice to public art, often struggling to secure public art commissions without adequate and timely experience. Through the Public Art Summer Mentorship program, each of the three selected emerging artists will receive:

  • a six-month solo-exhibition at the Toronto Sculpture Garden and practical public space experience
  • mentorship and guidance from established arts professionals
  • $37,500 in project funding (inclusive of artist fees and production costs, not inclusive of HST)
  • field trips, workshops, and artist studio visits
  • regular check-ins with City Staff
  • and exhibition promotion and exposure.

The Toronto Sculpture Garden (115 King Street East) is a public park and exhibition space that acts as a stepping-stone between studio work and public art, providing artists with the opportunity to work experimentally in public space.

The City of Toronto’s Public Art Strategy and the Public Art Strategy Implementation Plan (Phase 1) outline the City’s commitment to enhance existing and develop new career-building resources and mentorship programs for emerging public artists.

Meet the Mentors

Jyhling Lee is a professional artist, educator, and mother. Her practice, Figureground Studio, creates contemporary site-specific and socially engaging public artworks for our shared spaces. Since 2006, she has completed a wide range of prominent commissions including Huron Street Square and Model Home in Toronto.

Shuraine Otto-Olak is a public art administrator and environmental designer with a passion for placemaking initiatives and thought-provoking design. Through her work with public and non-profit organizations, she champions design excellence and oversees the selection, development, installation and documentation of public artwork along Toronto’s waterfront.

Emily Ricketts has worked in the conservation field for nearly a decade. She now manages the preservation needs of the City of Toronto’s Public Art & Monuments Collection (270 pieces and growing!) to ensure the protection of its cultural value and to maintain its quality and accessibility for the public.

Jon Sasaki is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited widely across Canada and is represented in numerous private and public collections. He has completed public art commissions for the City of Mississauga, Sheridan College, the Toronto Transit Commission, the City of Barrie, and most recently the Terry Fox installation on Toronto’s Waterfront.

Melanie Trojkovic is a curator with over fifteen years of contemporary art experience, including positions held at the Manifesta Biennial in Amsterdam, and Substation Gallery in Melbourne. She is the Gallery Director at United Contemporary, where she champions the practices of emerging and established artists, and creates a platform that supports diverse voices.

Katriina Campitelli, Public Art Officer, will lead the Public Art Summer Mentorship program including facilitating studio visits, workshops, and regular check-ins.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants:

  • must be based in the City of Toronto
  • should have a studio practice but no permanent public artworks
  • must not have ongoing contracts with the City of Toronto’s Public Art Office

Please note that this opportunity is specific to sculpture and cannot support mural artists. If you are an emerging mural artist, please see StreetARToronto’s mural programs and workshops.

Ryan Van Der Hout, To Reflect Everything, 2023-2024

Information Session

An information session for interested applicants will be held virtually on Wednesday March 13 at 6:00 pm. Participants will learn about the program, curriculum and application process, and may ask questions. To register for the session, please email PublicArtCompetitions@toronto.ca.

Program Timeline

Phase 1 – Artist Selection

  • Call to Artists released: February 21, 2024
  • Virtual Information Session: March 13 at 6:00 pm
  • Deadline for submissions: April 3, 2024
  • Artist notifications: No later than May 1, 2024

Phase 2 – Mentorship

Selected artists will:

  • meet with City staff to review the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Toronto Sculpture Garden during the week of May 27-31, 2024 (date TBD)
  • have regular check-ins with City staff every 4-6 weeks between June and October 2024
  • attend five one-on-one sessions, one with each of the Mentors. These meetings will be arranged independently with the Mentors and can take place virtually or in person between June 1 and August 31, 2024
  • attend field trips and studio visits between June 1 and August 31, 2024
  • present their final Toronto Sculpture Garden public art proposals in November 2024 (date TBD).

Phase 3 – Artist Exhibitions

The three exhibitions will be held at the Toronto Sculpture Garden from April – October 2025, October 2025 – April 2026, and April – October 2026.

Frantz Brent-Harris, Afrophilia, 2022

Evaluation

Submissions will be reviewed by a jury and evaluated on the applicant’s:

  • ability to articulate their practice, goals and ideas
  • quality of recent art projects and demonstrated skill
  • perceived willingness to learn, grow and collaborate, and the jury’s interpretation of how their work could dynamically and meaningfully expand into public space.

How to Apply

1. Please compile the following in one (1) PDF document:

  • Title page including name and contact information (email, phone, address, postal code)
  • Letter of interest (maximum one page) that includes the following three paragraphs:
    ◦  Tell us about yourself. Who are you? Who do you want to be?
    ◦  Tell us about your art practice to date. What themes do you notice? What materials do you use?
    ◦  Tell us why you are interested in the Public Art Summer Mentorship program or pursuing public art generally.
  • Images from a maximum of five (5) recent art projects. Please include descriptions for each: title, year, medium/materials.
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Please DO NOT include a public art proposal for the Toronto Sculpture Garden at this stage

2. Save your pdf document as [last name], [first name]_PASM

3. Ensure your pdf document is not larger than 20 MB

4. Email your submission to PublicArtCompetitions@toronto.ca by noon on April 3, 2024.

For questions, please contact:
Katriina Campitelli, Public Art Officer
PublicArtCompetitions@toronto.ca