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LIVEFOWARD: The Creation Of Public Art

Art communicates meaning and emotion. Art lends significance to a space. Art contributes to life. Recognizing the importance of art and community, we are providing a public art component at Eighty One Wellesley in Toronto.

To guide the selection and project management of the piece, we turned to Toronto-based Public Art Management led by mother-son team, Karen Mills and Ben Mills. The firm’s portfolio includes the iconic Digital Orca by Douglas Coupland at Vancouver Convention Centre, Compartment Earth by Roxy Paine at RBC’s WaterPark Place in Toronto, and further expands to more work in Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, and Berlin.

Compartment Earth by Roxy Paine

“My parents always taught me, you leave a place better than how you found it. When you have the opportunity to do that, which we try to do on all of our projects, it makes you feel good. You know it’s not more concrete and grey stuff everywhere – we’re trying to bring some colour, some life and creativity,” says Ben.

As we embark on the journey to introduce an expressive public art installation to the Church-Wellesley community, we spoke with Ben about the sophisticated process ahead. Early stages involve a detailed public art plan presented to the Toronto Public Art Commission, which is then reviewed by Community Council, and finally Toronto City Council for approval. Once the City has authorized the plan, artists are invited to apply with credentials and references. From established to emerging, artists are organized through either an open call or an invitational competition. “Working with artists and giving them an opportunity to expand on their practice, working on scale and sizes that they hadn’t thought of before, is quite exhilarating because it really opens their eyes and their mind to potentially branching off to another way of realizing how their work can be realized,” Ben continues.

A jury is then comprised of community members, including at least one artist, to make a selection based on what will enhance and provide a permanent public benefit for the site and for the neighbourhood.

We’re excited to provide a platform for an artist’s vision that will act as a point of inspiration for the community.

Register now for VIP access and priority viewing at Eighty One Wellesley’s presentation gallery, which includes two designer model suites.

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