Experience Eglinton on a series of art crawls (and enter for a chance to win your favourite piece)
This summer, Torontonians can explore one of the most culturally rich streets in Toronto on a series of neighbourhood art crawls. As part of an initiative called Gallery City, nearly 50 retailers along Eglinton between Weston Road and Laird—in communities as diverse as Mount Dennis, Little Jamaica, Forest Hill and Leaside—will be transforming their storefronts into mini galleries, showcasing works from a dozen local artists.
The initiative originally ran in the Oakwood neighbourhood in 2013, and was dreamed up by the York-Eglinton BIA and Hogtown Mascots (under the artistic direction of John Kernaghan). This summer, it’s been a giant collaboration between Metrolinx, Crosslinx Transit Solutions and six business improvement areas along Eglinton—all of whom have come together to encourage foot traffic along the construction-plagued road.
Pedestrians will be able to stroll into businesses like The Healthy Butcher at Avenue Road or Prestige Nail Salon at Bathurst Street and eye works from talented local artists who were selected (by organizations like the Artbarn School, Art Starts, and the NIA Centre for the Arts) for their diverse experiences and backgrounds and solid connections to their communities. Like the various shopping destinations along Eglinton, each mini gallery is totally unique, showcasing styles that range from bold abstract paintings to moody photography.
North Toronto–based oil painter Joan McGivney, whose work is showcased in the Chaplin/Avenue art crawl, creates landscapes inspired by the city’s many beautiful ravines. She also used to own a restaurant at Avenue and Lawrence, so understands the struggle the LRT construction is placing on Eglinton businesses. “For me, it’s a chance to reach new audiences while helping local businesses survive during this tough time,” she says. “I love this city and recognize the importance of vibrant small business communities in keeping our local neighbourhoods alive.”
Toronto-based Panamanian artist Jacqueline Comrie is displaying a few of her works in the Cedarvale/Forest Hill neighbourhood. She’s known for using bold splashes of colour on large-scale murals and abstract portraits. After winning a grant from Art Starts last year, she launched the Colour Wheel Project, an initiative that inspires creativity in high-traffic hospital areas by installing collaborative works of vibrant art. “I am honoured to have been asked to participate and add some colour to the Eglinton community,” she says. “I love this event because it’s given artists like myself, of different backgrounds and disciplines, a platform to beautify our city.”
Until August 25, Toronto art aficionados can explore the pop-up galleries in six neighbourhood art crawls and register for the chance to win one of the pieces—either by dropping a ballot at an in-store box or online via this form. The draw will take place on September 15th, with a winner for each of the 12 artists.
For more information, visit gallerycity.ca or search the hashtag #gallerycity2017.