Lost and Found by Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt

Presented by Markham Public Art

Seniors’ tai chi group from 105 Gibson Centre, sporting Lost and Found t-shirts, practicing along the Rouge River Trail in the summer of 2023. Photo by Hugh Li.

Lost and Found
A public art project by Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt

Curated by Yan Wu
Varley Art Gallery of Markham
January 27 to May 5, 2024
yourvoicemarkham.ca/lost-and-found

The City of Markham’s Public Art Program in partnership with the Varley Art Gallery of Markham is delighted to present Lost and Found, a newly commissioned public art project by artist duo Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt on view at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham from January 27 through May 5, 2024.

Lost and Found unfolded as a series of constructed situations along the Rouge River Trail in Unionville throughout the summer and fall of 2023. Augmented by specially designed t-shirts and musical carts, it was brought to life through everyday activities embodied by local community groups and amateur musicians. In January 2024, the project will transition to the exhibition space at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham to formalize a visual language that frames individual experiences along the trail as ‘artworks’ in the gallery through the presentation of objects and ephemera in an interactive installation.

Wandering, practicing, improvising, and experimenting are revealed here not only as preparations but as substantial activities in themselves. Lost and Found locates these activities in public space, designating chance encounters as a potential site for the formation of publics.

Holly Ward’s work explores the role of aesthetics in the formation of social realities, while Kevin Schmidt’s practice delves into the artist’s role in a spectacle-driven society, exploring faith, mythmaking, craft, and popular culture. Their collaborative projects include The Pavilion, a 22-foot high geodesic dome located in rural Heffley Creek BC, serving as a catalyst for artistic experimentation, and being performed as an interdisciplinary life-as-art project.


Two local musicians playing Lost and Found musical carts on the Rouge River Trail in the summer of 2023. Photo by Alessandra Pozzuoli.

Winter Exhibitions Opening Reception
Saturday, January 27, 2 to 4 PM | Free.
Join us in celebrating the opening of winter exhibitions at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, including Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt’s public art project Lost and Found and the collections-based installation A butterfly flaps its wings curated by Anik Glaude, along with the book launch for Gathering Fictions A Dialogue on Painting. Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt will lead a tour of their exhibition alongside curator Yan Wu in the Main Gallery, while artists Janet Jones and Michel Daigneault will discuss their work on display in the Collections Gallery.

Bus transportation is available from downtown Toronto (Spadina and Bloor) to the opening (subject to capacity) and will include a stop at the opening reception of A rose gives its fragrance even to the hand that crushes it at the Doris McCarthy Gallery. To register please contact Alessandra Pozzuoli at publicart@markham.ca.

Lost and Found Musician Practice Sessions
Saturdays and Sundays, 2 to 4 PM
Throughout the exhibition, the amateur musicians who played along the Rouge River Trail during the summer and fall will animate Lost and Found. Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, visitors will encounter a musician or musical group practicing their respective instruments in the gallery space.

Artist Talk with Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt
Saturday, March 2, 2 to 4 PM | Free.
Registration required.
Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt will delve into the process of conceiving the public art project Lost and Found. They will discuss its inception, research, artistic strategies, and manifestations in the context of their general practice and past projects.

Bus transportation is available from downtown Toronto (Spadina and Bloor) to the gallery (subject to capacity). To register please contact Alessandra Pozzuoli at publicart@markham.ca.

Found Sounds
Saturday, April 6, 2 to 4 PM | Free.
Join us at this celebratory musical event. Musicians from Lost and Found will gather to play in the exhibition space, performing material they practiced along the trail or in the gallery, or improvising on their own instruments and the musical carts created by the artists. The artists will be in attendance.


Local musician playing the euphonium on the Rouge River Trail in the summer of 2023 as part of Lost and Found. Photo by Alessandra Pozzuoli.

Media inquiries:
Yan Wu
Public Art Curator, City of Markham
ywu@markham.ca

Markham Public Art
Markham’s Public Art Program was first initiated in 2003 and formalized in 2012. Since 2013, seven permanent artworks have been commissioned through the program. In addition, the program has facilitated a series of community art initiatives in collaboration with the City’s Public Realm section. In the fall of 2019, Markham City Council approved its Public Art Master Plan 2020-2024, and a related Implementation Plan in winter 2020. The objectives of the program are to inspire people to live, work, visit, and invest in Markham; to celebrate the city’s diverse cultures and heritage from multiple points of view; and to connect residents to Markham’s built and natural environment.
markham.ca/publicart