Toronto Declares 2021 As The Year Of Public Art


TORONTO: Mayor John Tory has proclaimed 2021 as the Year of Public Art to further the growing arts and culture sector in Toronto.

Working in partnership with artists, arts organizations and communities across the city, the City will engage with residents and visitors in a city-wide recognition of public art by local and international artists and will be supported by arts institutions, developers and the City.

The Year of Public Art will build on Toronto’s significant collection of public art works and improve public access to art and is expected tol leave an enduring legacy through significant new art commissions, increased support to artists working in the public realm and diverse opportunities for engagement and interaction among artists, art and the public, a City statement said.

The Year of Public Art will partner with Toronto’s leading cultural institutions and create new funding opportunities for Toronto artists through a new funding opportunity to be delivered by the Toronto Arts Council (TAC) for artist-led public art projects.

The Year of Public Art will be delivered in close collaboration with a range of partners, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Bentway, the Toronto Biennial of Art, Luminato, the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, Harbourfront Centre, the Power Plant, the network of local arts service organizations, OCAD University, Osmington (Union Station), Art Toronto and the TAC.

Toronto delivers three public art programs: the Public Art and Monuments Collection, the Percent for Public Art Program and StreetARToronto (StART). The programs have had a transformative effect on the city’s vibrancy, assembling a collection of public art that, in its scale and diversity, is of international significance.

More information about the City’s public art strategy and the Year of Public Art 2021 is available at

The Year of Public Art will work closely with all Toronto’s major contemporary art events and City-led projects. There will be a renewed vision for public art with program expansions and multi-year artistic director appointments for Nuit Blanche and the Indigenous Arts Festival.

Dr. Julie Nagam will be the Nuit Blanche artistic director for the 2020 and 2021 festivals. Dr. Nagam is the Canadian Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, Collaboration and Digital Media and is an Associate Professor at the University of Winnipeg.

The two-year curatorial theme for Nuit Blanche will be “The Space Between Us”, focusing on the connections across urban, polar and pacific landscapes.

Since 2006, Nuit Blanche has featured almost 1,571 art installations by approximately 5,600 artists. The 15th edition of Nuit Blanche is scheduled for October 3, 2020. There are plans to include an expansion of Nuit Blanche to North York and Etobicoke.

Nuit Blanche is now accepting submissions for 2020 through the Open Call program and Independent Projects programs available at

The 8th annual Indigenous Arts Festival (IAF) will take place June 19 to 21, 2020, under the artistic direction of Rhéanne Chartrand, a Metis curator and creative producer, and the curator of Indigenous Art at the McMaster Museum of Art in Hamilton. In 2020, the IAF will build on the recent success of the event’s expansion to include a greater focus on public art.