Markham Public Art Presents Becoming Public Art: Temporary Programming


Markham Public Art presents Becoming Public Art: Temporary Programming

Please join us on Tuesday, December 1, from 1:15 – 3 PM EST for Temporary Programming, featuring two sequential programs. First, a presentation on the history of the Toronto Sculpture Garden, with a responding discussion about its relevance to today’s art ecology. This will be followed by a panel discussion featuring the voices of those leading Toronto’s temporary public art programs now. Temporary Programming is the eighth session of Becoming Public Art, a nine-week virtual summit presented by Markham Public Art in partnership with ART+PUBLIC UnLtd.

The event is free, online, and open to the public. Registration is required, click here.


For its first 35 years, the Toronto Sculpture Garden was the site of innovative, temporary, contemporary sculpture installations. This small park in the downtown core was a testing ground for more than 100 artists to experiment in public space and to address issues of architectural scale, materials and context. Originating when site specificity was in its infancy, the Toronto Sculpture Garden became a laboratory for a whole generation of artists. Many have gone on to make significant permanent art works.

Rina Greer, public art consultant

Jayne Wilkinson, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Art
Yan Wu, Markham Public Art Curator

Rina Greer is an art consultant, specializing in integrated art and architecture projects since 1974. Concurrently, as Director of the Toronto Sculpture Garden for over 30 years, she organized more than 90 exhibitions showcasing Canadian and international artists. Significant public art projects include: Brookfield Place Calgary; Bay Adelaide Centre – East Tower; North Tower (2022); West Harbour City I, II & III; Ripley’s Aquarium; Trump Hotel (now The Adelaide Hotel); 85 East Liberty Street; 125 Western Battery Road; Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Jayne Wilkinson is an art writer, editor and independent curator. She is currently editor-in-chief of Canadian Art—Canada’s largest contemporary art publication—and has contributed art criticism to a variety of online and print publications, including artists’ books, catalogues, and gallery publications. She holds an MA in Art History and Critical Theory from the University of British Columbia and her research blends interests in surveillance culture, environmental politics, and security and representation, with a focus on contemporary art and photo-based practices.


Panel Discussion

Can permanent projects have a temporary dimension and how might temporary projects bring about permanent change? Can Covid’s digital transformations teach us anything about liveness mediated? Is it possible to achieve monumental projects within a short-term time frame? Is “now” the opportunity to change programming and explore the temporary? Are temporary public art projects the best solution in a constantly changing world?

Ilana Altman, Co-Executive Director, The Bentway
Tairone Bastien, Curator, Toronto Biennial of Art
Kari Cwynar, independent curator and Curatorial Advisor, Evergreen Brick Works

Janine Marchessault, Curator and Prof. School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design, York University

Ilana Altman is a cultural planner and designer who has a background in art and architecture. In her role as Co-Executive Director at the Bentway she works with the local and artistic community to implement innovative and engaging programming, revealing new possibilities for public space and public art.

Tairone Bastien is an independent curator. He co-curated the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art in 2019 and is working on the second edition, scheduled for fall 2021. In 2018, he was one of the curators of Nuit Blanche Toronto. From 2011-2016, he worked with MENASA-based artists developing commissioned projects in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Dhaka, Venice, and London. From 2005-2010, he was a curator for the first three editions of Performa in New York. This semester he is an adjunct professor at OCADU.

Kari Cwynar is an independent curator and writer living in Toronto. From 2015-2020, she curated a program of temporary, site-responsive public art projects in Toronto’s Don River Valley through the non-profit Evergreen, where she is now Senior Curatorial Advisor. Cwynar studied Art History at Queen’s University and Carleton University, and participated in the 2012-2013 de Appel Curatorial Programme in Amsterdam. Between 2014 to 2019 she contributed to the editorial team of C Magazine as Assistant Editor, Editor and Editorial Director.

Janine Marchessault is a curator of site-specific exhibitions that engage with history and land use, and Professor in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design, York University. Her most recent project is Archive/Counter-Archive. With a Canada Council New Chapter grant, she co-produced five short experimental Imax films, XLOuter Worlds (2019), that will begin touring in the near future. She is the author of Ecstatic Worlds: Media, Utopias, Ecologies (MIT Press, 2017).

Becoming Public Art: Working Models and Case Studies for Art in Public is a nine-week virtual summit presented by the City of Markham in partnership with ART+PUBLIC UnLtd. In a series of virtual sessions co-curated by Rebecca Carbin, Principal, ART+PUBLIC UnLtd, and Yan Wu, Public Art Curator, City of Markham, professionals in the field will present the broad range of perspectives that shape public art making today.

For summit details and to subscribe for updates, please visit the summit website.

General inquiries:
Media inquiries: Yan Wu, Markham Public Art Curator

Image 1: Katie Bethune-Leamen, Mushroom Studio, 2008. Toronto Sculpture Garden. Courtesy of Rina Greer.
Image 2: Life of a Craphead, King Edward VII Equestrian Statue Floating Down the Don, 2017, performance for the Don River Valley Park. Photo: Yuula Benivolski.