Today, City of Toronto Mayor John Tory proclaimed 2021 as the Year of Public Art, a year-long celebration of art and community. The announcement was made at OCAD University, Canada's largest and most comprehensive Canadian university of art, design and media. Working in partnership with artists, arts organizations and communities city-wide, the City will engage residents and visitors in a city-wide recognition of public art.
Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University, welcomed Mayor Tory and Councillor Gary Crawford, in addition to artist and curator, Luis Jacob and incoming Artistic Director of Nuit Blanche, Dr. Julie Nagam, who also spoke at the event. "Public art can and should be front and centre to its residents, visitors and its identity," said Dr. Diamond. "Public art creates community hubs, spurs social engagement and promotes vibrant and inclusive communities."
The City's new 10-year public art strategy, to be presented to City Council for consideration in December will seek to renew its vision and commitment to public art.
Over two years ago, Dr. Diamond initiated an independent academic study, Redefining Public Art in Toronto, that she co-led with Dr. Daniel Silver and their research teams at OCAD University, the University of Toronto, and an engaged group of advisors and funders. The study's recommendations included the expansion of public art, the need for publc art everywhere and the value of integrating public art into all aspect of city planning. Today's announcement by Mayor Tory represents an opportunity to put strategy into practice.