OCAD U alumni influencing public art spaces in Toronto

Together, by Jihee Min, a participatory mural installation created for CreativeTO
Monday, April 22, 2019 - 4:30pm

Jihee Min selected for Public Art Mentorship

OCAD University’s alumna Jihee Min is the selected artist mentee for a Public Art Mentorship launched by The Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Space (STEPS) Initiative, a charitable organization that works with large scale public artworks, along with Brad Golden + Co.  There were more than 125 applicants from across the country.

The Public Art Mentorship will run until December 2019, giving Jihee Min the opportunity to develop a full understanding of large-scale public artworks while gaining valuable portfolio-building experience. The program is managed under the mentorship of Steve Driscoll, a Canadian artist who has a contemporary approach regarding traditional Canadian landscape.

Jihee Min received a BFA with Honours in Sculpture & Installation from OCAD U in 2005. She uses her own experiences to explore the idea of identity and cultural dislocation. The artist works with a wide range of media such as drawing, performance and photography and has received many grants, awards and scholarships.

Click here to learn more about Jihee Min’s work.

Jennifer Fryer and Rosena Fung develop art panel in St. James Town

OCAD alumni Jennifer Fryer and Rosena Fung have developed an art panel for Tridel Corporation in partnership with The PATCH Project (under the STEPS Initiative) and the students of Art City, a charitable organization that offers after-school art programs to kids residing in St. James Town.

The project titled “Our City, Our Home” celebrates Toronto and the St. James Town’s neighbourhood. With joyful colours, the art panel celebrates the differences and similarities of residents and visitors of the area. The work is part of the St. James Town Cultural Plan,  that uses temporary public art initiatives to engage local residents.

Jennifer Fryer studied Illustration at OCAD U and her work has appeared in prominent news outlets such as the National Post and the Toronto Star. Rosena Fung is also an OCAD U Illustration graduate and her work has been included in major news outlets such as The Globe and Mail and The Boston Globe.

Click here to learn more about Jennifer Fryer and here for Rosena Fung’s work.

Our City, Our Home by Jennifer Fryer, Rosena Fung and the students of Art City, highlights the diversity of St. James Town

Culture Creates Bonds


The Culture Creates Bonds study defines key drivers, scenarios, and conditions that create  natural human bonds, those of cultural activities and practices, in a residential or immediate neighbourhood. Historical and contemporary research indicates that cultural contexts, content, and activities act as mechanisms and factors that create a sense of identity, engagement, and relationships within and between communities. Research explores constraints as well as conditions that lead to successful bonding. The study applies a mixed methods approach that includes a literature review; interviews with stakeholders; an analysis of the data and results from the 2017 Culture Track Canada report, and a series of case studies.

Research Study:


Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 3:00pm
Lab Member: 
Dr. Sara Diamond
Alia Weston
Marcus A. Gordon

Call for Applications - Nuit Blanche TO 2019 Career Launcher Independent Projects

Career Launcher: Nuit Blanche Toronto 2019 Independent Projects
Friday, December 21, 2018 - 4:30pm to Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 12:45am


Nuit Blanche Toronto and the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers are inviting recent and upcoming OCAD U graduates from classes of 2017, 2018, and 2019 to apply to Nuit Blanche 2019 Independent Projects Program. One selected Independent Project by OCADU graduates will be awarded with a Career Launcher support valued at $1,500. 

To apply, please visit: https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/festivals-events/nuit-blanche-toronto/

Deadline: Thursday, February 14, 2019


2019 Theme: Continuum

The city of Toronto and its inhabitants are in a constant state of becoming. With shifting boundaries, new developments and changing perspectives we are invested in the desire for a change in experiences, viewpoints, landscapes, and ideas.

This progression follows many paths through the night of Nuit Blanche. The cycle of creation and destruction that simultaneously depletes and feeds, the elevation of the noble into a place of renown nobility, the challenge of finding inner calm and enlightenment in the midst of it all, underlined by the ever-present renewal of night into day. All are part of the continuum. Is there peace without enduring commotion? Is destruction actually the end of something, or does it mark a new beginning? How can we know there is more to our existence without the contrast and comparison? 

In a world that feels increasingly polarized, there is a critical need for nuanced conversations and intersectional perspectives. From dusk to dawn, Nuit Blanche Toronto plants seeds of change addressing the more compelling and complex parts of our existence, as individuals, as communities and as a city. In this place of potential, process, awakening and evolution exists.

Note for 2019 Applicants

All Independent Project applicants are encouraged to directly reference the 2019 theme, Continuum, in their project descriptions on the application form. The City of Toronto and the Independent Projects Selection Committee will actively adjudicate all applications through the lens of this vision.



  • Must have graduated from OCADU in 2017 or 2018, or will graduate in 2019. 

To be considered for inclusion in the program, all proposed projects must:

  • Be able to stay open all night: Projects must be open for the entire 12 hour period (from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.)
  • Be free: Projects must be free of charge to the public.
  • Be self-funded
  • Take place in Toronto
  • Take place in a venue or location that is accessible
  • Be produced by a Toronto-based professional artist 

For further details, please visit here


All proposals must be submitted through Independent Projects Application Portal.

Please click here to access to portal



Nuit Blanche Toronto

Nuit Blanche Toronto is an annual Toronto’s free all-night contemporary art event that invites adventurous residents and visitors to take to the streets from sunset to sunrise. Experience Toronto transformed by hundreds of Canadian and international artists. One night only, all night long. 

Venue & Address: 
Toronto, ON
416.977.6000 x 361

Call for Applications - Nuit Blanche TO 2019 Career Launcher Independent Projects

Nuit Blanche Toronto and the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers are inviting recent and upcoming OCAD U graduates from classes of 2017, 2018, and 2019 to apply to Nuit Blanche 2019 Independent Projects Program. One selected Independent Project by OCADU graduates will be awarded with a Career Launcher support valued at $1,500. 

City Hall to review public art report

Dr Sara Diamond seated at a table speaking in City Hall chambers
Thursday, March 1, 2018

President Sara Diamond spoke at Toronto’s Economic Development Committee on March 1 to discuss a report created in collaboration by researchers at OCAD University and the University of Toronto. Published in Fall 2017, Redefining Public Art in Toronto makes a number of recommendations, including updating the city’s current public art policy, drafted in the 1980s, improving funding mechanisms and opening up the definition of “public art” to include digital and performance art, while integrating public art into all future planning.

“Public art increases quality of life for residents, it improves the value of the public realm. There are public art deserts outside of the dense downtown zones, and art must have a presence throughout Toronto,” said President Diamond.

The committee enthusiastically agreed that the research be reviewed by two city divisions: Economic Development & Culture, in collaboration with City Planning. City staff will report back with any recommendations and steps required to improve Toronto’s public art policies and practices. 


Report envisions the future of public art in Toronto

Dr. Sara Diamond at podium next to screen with presentation
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sara Diamond and a team of researchers from OCAD University and the University of Toronto have collaborated on a blueprint to make Toronto a world leader in public art projects. Incorporating interviews with artists, real estate developers, architects and other key stakeholders, Redefining Public Art in Toronto examines local and international public art policies. The researchers examined the city’s history of public art projects dating from 1967 to 2015. The report was presented at a launch event on Oct. 23 at OCAD U's Onsite Gallery. 

“Toronto is at a threshold as a growing and dynamic city. Public art can and should be front and centre to its inhabitants, its visitors and its identity,” says Diamond, “It’s not just about beautifying a neighbourhood; public art creates community hubs, spurs social engagement and promotes vibrant and inclusive communities.”

The report makes a number of recommendations including updating the public art policy drafted in the 1980s, improving funding mechanisms and opening up the definition of “public art” to include digital and performance art, while integrating public art into all future planning.

"Bringing together researchers across disciplines and universities, our report catalogs Toronto's many achievements in the field of public art, while also identifying how it could more fully realize its great potential,” says Daniel Silver, Associate Professor, Faculty of Sociology, University of Toronto. “We hope to inspire policy-makers, civic leaders, and community members to seize the moment and come together to re-invigorate Toronto's public art policies.”

The report is available for download online.

Losing Site

Losing Site Graphic Image
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Losing Site: Public Art Space-Place-Site within Toronto’s Rapidly Developing Urban Geography

OCAD U & AGO Public Art Forum


Session 1: Wednesday March 1, 2017, 7:00pm 100 McCaul Auditorium, OCAD University

Session 2: Tuesday March 7, 2017, 7:00pm Jackman Hall, AGO


OCAD University and Art Gallery of Ontario host two consecutive public forums to discuss the opportunities and implications of Toronto’s construction boom on public art by collectively imagining new social and economic models that support long term ambitions for a diversified and unique approach to art within public spaces.


These discussions will frame new imaginaries and possible trajectories to sustain ‘sites’ that allow for the existence of art and public art spaces within the downtown core. We seek visions that can help articulate policies towards maintaining diversity and texture in Toronto’s rapidly changing urban program. 

Inviting a creative and engaged circle to collectively imagine, the panel will survey new social and economic models that could support long term ambitions for public art space and site in Toronto.

The questions and discussions are informed by the Redefining Public Art collaborative research group from OCAD University & University of Toronto. 


Session 1: Wednesday March 1, 2017, 7:00pm 100 McCaul Auditorium, OCAD University

Session 1 will explore various perspectives, visions and criteria of value for the future of public art in Toronto, considering relevance, inclusivity, site specificity and cultural difference and observing notions of site in relation to colonialism, immigration, and generational differences. What will the public art landscape in Toronto look like in 20 years, what kind of narrative will we choose to be our legacy? What does sustained public engagement really look like?  

Introduction President Sara Diamond

Overview of OCAD U/ UofT Public Art Research Prof. Marie-Josee Therrien & Prof. Dan Silver  


1. Rebecca Carbin

2. Aisha Sasha John

3. Kari Cwynar

4. Catherine Dean

5. Ben Mills

Moderated by Jacob Zimmer 

Organized by Ala Roushan & Xenia Benivolski



Session 2: Tuesday March 7, 2017, 7:00pm Jackman Hall, AGO

Session 2 will draw conclusions from the first session with a focused panel articulating possible trajectories moving forth. This session will address how we can mobilize some of the creative and socially conscious ambitions for the future of Toronto’s public art. Looking to the future, strategies will be discussed to make meaningful change in policy and practice that complement the City’s growth in diversity and geography, addressing the new mediums and conversations taking place. Together we will discuss where Toronto goes next.

Introduction President Sara Diamond

Overview of The Artful City Ilana Altman



Moderated by Jacob Zimmer 

Organized by Ala Roushan & Xenia Benivolski


Special thank you to Paola Poletto and Kathleen Mclean for their support.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University100 McCaul St Auditorium

Information session for students interested in registering for: LandMarks 2017

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

This course frames a critical context that marks a multifaceted dialogue about land and the occasion of 150 years of Canada, pointing to futures and to much longer histories.  Students will engage in conversation with curator Tania Willard and artists, Camille Turner and Cheryl L’Hirondelle, resulting in the installation of public artworks in Parks Canada sites and in an online platform.

Winter 2017 Course 

CROS S4001.  Credit Value: 1.0

Instructors: Min Sook Lee & Laura Millard



Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul Street, Room 650
info session poster with text superimpossed on a photo of people at night with beams of lighted smoke

Yellow Staircase Project 2008 Launch

daniela pettinato 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

The Yellow Staircase Project, a student initiative with full administrative support, launched officially in September 2007. Join us to celebrate one year later as we launch the project for 2008. Students (individually or small groups) are welcome to submit proposals for original artwork in the staircase. Free the yellow staircase of its yellowness and replace it with colourful paintings and murals! The medium is paint but students from all disciplines are encourged to get involved.

Come out and pick up a copy of the submission guidelines and deadlines.

Venue & Address: 
Lobby 100 McCaul Street, Toronto, Ontario