Project 31 at OCAD University

Project 31
Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 10:00pm to Friday, March 27, 2015 - 2:00am

One of Canada’s best contemporary art auctions, Project 31 represents the best of OCAD University: our talented and renowned faculty and alumni generously creating opportunity for our talented students. This year, Project 31 features 42 works made by faculty and alumni from across the institution — from programs such as Criticism and Curatorial Practice, Drawing & Painting, Illustration, Integrated Media, Material Art & Design, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture/Installation and Graduate Studies.

Over the past five years Project 31 has raised more than $400,000, supporting a community of over 4,500 OCAD University students - the next generation of cultural leaders and the drivers of Canada’s creative economy. 

Artwork Preview: 6 p.m., Live Auction: 7:30 p.m.

Purchase your tickets online


Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 4:00am to Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 4:00am


OCAD U Faculty of Design instructor Jon Todd presents his latest show Outsider

Gallery: Hermann & Audrey. 1506 Dundas St West, Toronto, Ontario.
Date: October 16th– 26th, 2014
OUTSIDER, the latest exhibition by contemporary painter Jon Todd, will be on display for public viewing at Hermann & Audrey from October 16th - 26th, 2014.
Inspired by naïve artist values discovered in Central America, OUTSIDER is multi-layered
portraits adorned in symbolic imagery and presented in light box, lenticular installation, collage and mixed media. Jon Todd has revealed his artistic process by unveiling abstractions and expressed brush strokes within each of the pieces.

Venue & Address: 
Hermann & Audrey Gallery 1506 Dundas Street West Toronto, Ontario

Photography Exhibit

Saturday, May 9, 2015 - 4:00pm to Sunday, May 31, 2015 - 4:00pm

Photography Exhibit

May 9 - 31, 2015
Photography Exhibit
Faculty - G. McCrum

Venue & Address: 
Great Hall 100 McCaul St. Toronto, Ontario


Lot 28: Judgement by John Scott

Project 31, OCAD University's highly anticipated annual live auction features more artworks, and a wider range of disciplines than ever before. Although it originally began four years ago as a 31-piece auction to represent the 31 days of March, this year OCAD U’s award-winning faculty members generously donated a total of 39 works for the March 27 event. 

All proceeds from the auction go to support specific areas of need at the university chosen by the faculty members themselves, and this year many of the faculty members selected student scholarships, awards, bursaries, equipment and materials. Gary Taxali, for example, chose to direct the proceeds from his work to life drawing models for illustration students, while Jack Cassady is supporting equipment for the printmaking program.

"Project 31 is a very exciting opportunity for students to see faculty work,” says Katherine Needham, Manager, Development & Alumni Relations Events, and the auction’s lead organizer. “It’s also a meaningful way for faculty to show how much they care about the students they teach, and the students love that. They usually congregate in the gallery and cheer on their favourite works and programs as artwork prices go higher and higher.”

Because it features such a wide range of collectable works at various price points, the auction has proven popular among OCAD U supporters and collectors, whether they’re interested in beginning a collection or are seasoned art enthusiasts. Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD U’s president, has purchased a new work at the auction each year. In the past three years alone, the event has raised $200,000, and Needham says ticket sales are up, which may make the auction even more exciting this year.

This year’s auction features creations by faculty Barbara Astman, Ian Carr-Harris, Cathy Daley and many others, representing the most diverse range of disciplines yet: Drawing & Painting, Photography, Sculpture/Installation, Integrated Media, Environmental Design, Material Art & Design, Printmaking and Illustration.

Learn more

See it: Project 31 works are on display at the Great Hall, 100 McCaul Street, from Monday, March 25 to Thursday, March 27

View catalogue

Buy tickets



Circle drawing by Nicole Collins. Image by Nicole Collins
Nicole Collins, Giotto's O, digital projection with sound, image by the AGO and Nicole Collins.

“An education in art is excellent and opens you up. But you can think you know where you’re going and end up somewhere else. Not knowing what’s going to happen and having to accept that is true about life in general. You do the best you can and I find that strangely reassuring. It’s more about tenacity and perseverance and unexpected things happen when you repeat yourself.” Nicole Collins

Artists can sometimes set extremely high standards for themselves, and as artist and OCAD U instructor Nicole Collins reveals in her new work, Giotto’s O, perfection is not always attainable — but something wonderful can happen when you try.

Giotto’s O, which is on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) until June 23, is the result of Collins’s attempts to draw a perfect circle and sound a perfect note. Collins draws a circle on the gallery wall using her arm as a compass and silverpoint, a medieval art material as her drawing tool. When she’s not in the gallery, viewers see a looped projection of her drawing and erasing a circle. The work is about constantly making and unmaking circles, and arriving at perfection only through repetition.

The other component of the work is sound — listen as you approach the work and you’ll hear Collins trying to sing the sounds of the bells she heard every day in Florence while she was teaching at the OCAD U Florence program and developing Giotto’s O. “The relationship between the sound is the idea of attempting, failing and at some level succeeding through the attempts,” says Collins.

Collins, who’s been exhibiting works as painter for more than two decades, went back to school in 2007 to do her Master’s of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto. She found a footnote in a Julia Kristeva article about how Giotto, while working on his frescoes in 1320, was approached by a courier to submit a sketch for a commission from the pope. Giotto, who hadn’t prepared anything, took a paintbrush, some red paint and executed a perfect circle for his submission. (He of course got the commission.)

“It’s brilliant because it was an exhibition of his mastery, and so brazen,” says Collins. “As a 21st century woman artist it made me laugh at first, then I wondered if I could create a perfect circle. I went back to my office, in King’s College Circle, and my immediate attempts were failures. I started making repeated circles and they made me think about our definition of perfection, and what labour means to art.”

When developing the work Collins was assisted by three of her OCAD U students: David Clark; Renee Dykeman and Megan Hunter. Giotto’s O is part of the Toronto Now series at the AGO, which celebrates the work of local artists and invites the public to engage with some of Toronto’s most exciting contemporary art projects, free of charge. Toronto Now is, fittingly, supported by The Contemporary Circle.

Where to see it

Art Gallery of Ontario, Young Gallery (inside FRANK restaurant)
317 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Note that the work can be viewed from either inside the gallery or from the outside. From the outside it’s accessible 24/7 to everyone.

108 drawings from this project can also be viewed at General Hardware Contemporary until June 23



Storm Breaking/Grand Prairie, 2007 by Rae Johnson

A grand total of 42 new works by OCAD U’s award-winning faculty were on the block March 27 for the university’s highly anticipated annual auction. In its fifth year, Project 31 is popular among collectors, who see the event as an opportunity to obtain valuable works and support the university at the same time.

“We are the custodians of a wonderful body of work, and have purchased several pieces at Project 31,” said Peter Milligan, a Toronto collector, who together with his wife, OCAD U alumna Doreen MacAulay Milligan, collects works by OCAD U faculty and Project 31 donors John Scott, Barbara Astman and Rae Johnson, among others. “I enjoy seeing all the wonderful work and while it’s fun to be there, it’s more than having a few drinks and canapés. It’s an opportunity to recognize the abilities of OCAD U faculty and support students.”

Milligan’s Project 31 purchases include Johnson’s “Storm Breaking/Grand Prairie, 2007” and John Scott’s “Uncle Schlomo,” which hang in his loft. An enthusiastic collector, he enjoys admiring and observing the works every day. “I’ve been aware of Scott and awed by his inspiration,” Milligan said. “He challenges you intellectually, emotionally and philosophically, and Ray Johnson is brilliant. ‘Storm Breaking’ is extraordinary.”

Ernie Kerr, whose Project 31 purchases have included a Stephen Appleby-Barr as well as two works by Gordon Peteran and one by Cathy Daley, enjoys the annual event and supporting the OCAD U student community too, though notes another dimension of the event that makes it exciting. “It’s an opportunity to obtain works by up-and-coming artists,” he said, describing how works purchased at the auction can, over the years, increase in value.

OCAD U faculty members donate their work to Project 31, and proceeds from the auction go to support specific areas of need of their choosing, such as student scholarships, awards, bursaries, equipment, models and materials. The event features a wide range of collectable works at various price points, which makes it popular among OCAD U supporters and collectors, whether they’re beginning a collection or are seasoned art enthusiasts.


MASS Group Exhibition

Poster with fragmented text
Friday, October 3, 2014 - 4:00am to Saturday, October 25, 2014 - 4:00am

Featuring Artists: Anita Kunz, Kevin Bae, Kelly Hu, Doug Panton, Sylvie Daigneault and Anson Liaw

This group art exhibition is an attempt to bring together selected local and international artists into a collective exhibition without placing any restriction on and/or limiting their artistic creativity and without abiding to a single unified theme and/or style. A goal for this exhibition is to emphasize and celebrate each artist and their commitment to being effective, contributing artists in society. The goal is not to place a definited "shape” on their works, but to be synonymous to the spirit and idea title of the show “MASS,” which is defined as a “large body of matter with no definite shape.” Each artist in this exhibition showcases 4 to 6 selected works using various media and personal means of visual expression and communication by creating exciting and thought-provoking imagery. Their works are sure to inspire a mass audience who appreciates and celebrates the invaluable beauty that naturally exists within the world around us.

Curated by Ivan Zhao

Opening Reception: Friday, October 3, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Venue & Address: 
Gallery M Contemporary 7039 Yonge Street Thornhill, Ontario L3T 2A6
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Susan Ferguson at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Monday, June 2, 2014 - 4:00pm

Susan Ferguson, Manager of OCAD University’s Writing & Learning Centre and Centre for Innovation in Art & Design Education presented her paper “Embodied Writing and Decolonizing Knowledge Production” at the annual conference of the Canadian Sociological Association last week. The conference is part of the larger Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, held at Brock University.

Ferguson’s presentation was part of a roundtable session featuring contributors to an edited collection entitled Embodiment, Pedagogy and Decolonization: Critical and Material Considerations. The intention of the book is to consider how embodiment and embodied learning are taken up in pedagogical and decolonization theories and practices.

Abstract: “Embodied Writing and Decolonizing Knowledge Production”
This paper explores the possibilities of embodied writing for social research and its implications for decolonizing knowledge production about and of the body. While there has been considerable interest in issues of subjectivity and embodiment in social research, much scholarly writing about the body, health and subjectivity maintains the normative orders of Western academic knowledge production through its reliance upon dominant understandings of embodiment and writing practices that (re)produce disembodied relations to text. Drawing on my research regarding the social production of bodily pain, I will describe how I brought together feminist autobiography, phenomenologically-informed interpretive sociology and mindfulness meditation to develop an understanding of embodied writing practice and consider how it can support a project of decolonizing knowledge production.

Project 31 offers up OCAD faculty works in support of programs, students

Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 7:30pm

(Toronto — February 25, 2010) The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) is betting the month of March will go out like a lion as it launches its exciting new fundraising initiative, Project 31.

Acclaimed members of the university faculty have donated 31 works of art and design, which will be unveiled on a daily basis throughout the month, culminating in a live auction celebration on Wednesday, March 31.

What makes the event unique is how the funds will be directed. “Each faculty member who generously donated to Project 31 is directing the proceeds from the sale of that work to a specific area of need at OCAD,” explains Jessica Kamphorst, Executive Director of Development & Alumni Relations, and President of the OCAD Foundation. “Donating faculty members have determined that funds will help to increase, among other things, live model hours for Illustration students; professional development funds for faculty; program-specific scholarships; and the OCAD library and Learning Zone. Some of our faculty have also chosen to donate proceeds to our Student Assistance Challenge, which provides valuable support to students in the form of non-repayable bursaries."

OCAD’s highly regarded Florence Off-Campus Studies program will also receive a financial boost through Project 31. Also set to benefit are International Student Entrance Scholarships, and OCAD program areas such as Drawing & Painting, Photography and Integrated Media.

“The works in the sale have been selected through a jury of faculty members, curators and collectors, and close to half of them are valued at over $3,000, representing a significant injection of funds to OCAD operations and student support,” said Kamphorst. “This is a rare opportunity to obtain works by Canada’s most renowned artists and designers who teach, mentor and inspire OCAD students, and set an example of excellence and achievement. Through our faculty community’s incredible generosity, we’re thrilled to be able to make these works available for purchase, and to be able to direct the proceeds to areas dear to their hearts.”

A month-long digital experience, Project 31 will unveil a new work each day of March online at “Think of it as an advent calendar for the month of March,” said Kamphorst. Live auction ticket-holders will receive a copy of the full-colour catalogue as part of their ticket purchase. Tickets for the March 31 auction can be purchased online at the Project 31 website for $95.

Project 31 features works by:
Stephen Appleby-Barr
Doreen Balabanoff
Ian Carr-Harris
Nicole Collins
Robyn Cumming
Cathy Daley
Paul Dallas
Bonnie Devine
Judith Doyle
Eldon Garnet
Simon Glass
Gary Gray
Jody Hewgill
April Hickox
Natalka Husar
Anda Kubis
Colette Laliberté
Francis LeBouthillier
Jennifer Long
Laura Millard
Sarah Nind
Charles Pachter
Luke Painter
Gordon Peteran
Paul Sloggett
Fiona Smyth
Vladimir Spicanovic
Peter Sramek
Gary Taxali
Team Macho
Michèle White

Project 31
Follow Project 31 online from March 1 to 31

Celebration: Wednesday, March 31
Artwork Preview: 6 p.m.
Live Auction: 7 p.m.
Tickets: $95 (purchase online at

Ontario College of Art & Design
100 McCaul Street, Toronto
416-977-6000 |

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design ( is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information and images please contact:


Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)


OCADU announces dates for the 9th annual Whodunit? Mystery Art Sale

Thursday, September 2, 2010 - 4:00am

(Toronto — September 2, 2010) Art collectors: mark your calendars! OCAD University (OCADU) will hold its famous “Whodunit? OCADU Mystery Art Sale” on Saturday, November 20, with public previews taking place from November 17 to 19. Works will be available for online previews starting November 17 at

One of Toronto’s most anticipated annual art events, the Whodunit? Mystery Art Sale presents work by OCADU students, faculty, alumni, acclaimed artists and designers and creative celebrities — all the same size (5½” x 7½”) and all the same price ($75) — with proceeds supporting OCADU’s unique creative environment.

All artworks — ranging from paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics, sculptures, textiles or jewellery, to graphic works, illustrations, prototypes and mock-ups — are exhibited anonymously. Art enthusiasts can shop relieved of the pressure of needing to know who the artists are, or they can take pleasure in the guessing game! The artist behind the work is only revealed after it’s purchased.

Since it began in 2001, Whodunit? has raised more than $900,000 to support creativity and learning for students at OCAD University. Help us reach the $1 million mark in 2010!

Art works are sold on a first-come-first-served basis on Saturday, November 20, starting at 10 a.m.

Hint: the best way buyers can ensure they get the work they want is to come to see the display in person or preview the work online, make a wish list, and arrive early at the sale!

Whodunit? OCADU Mystery Art Sale schedule:

Public Preview:
Wednesday, November 17, 12 noon to 6 p.m.
Thursday, November 18 and Friday, November 19, 12 noon to 8 p.m.
Admission is free.
Or preview artwork online at starting on November 17

Preview Gala:
Wednesday, November 17, 6:30 to 10 p.m.
Savour cocktails while bidding on mystery art chosen exclusively for sale in the Gala Preview’s Silent Auction (featuring small-scale work) and the exciting Emerging Artists Live Auction (featuring full-scale work from a select group of new talent). Get a sneak peek at the hundreds of pieces of mystery art to be sold in the Whodunit? Public Art Sale.
Tickets: $150
Dress: Art School Chic
Auctioneer: Stephen Ranger
Music: DJ Aural (Grapefruit)

Public Art Sale:
Saturday, November 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All events take place at OCAD University, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto.

About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University ( is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information or to request images, contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)