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June 26, 2009

For many years now, I’ve participated in the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. It is a great place to meet up with old friends and colleagues. I’ve also been introduced to many new artists. In particular, I think of first seeing Natalia Laluque’s Canadiana Project several years back.

This year will prove to be particularly challenging to imagine anything in the ordinary. Metro civic workers are on strike. But how will this play itself out on Nathan Philips Square? Will volunteers clear the rubbish bins? Will the underground parking lot be barricaded and off-limits?

A similar thing happened several years ago when a Garbage Strike threatened to de-rail the Exhibition. As a precaution, the show dates were moved to Labour Day of 2002, I think it was. This had a detrimental effect for both buyers and sellers of artwork. Circumstances had put a strain on the fragile supply and demand equilibrium. For this year, the show will go on as scheduled and it should be a good one. Unlike any other outdoor show before, this years will be fraught with restlessness and insurgence. In a parallel exhibition at Lennox Contemporary, will be Rejects a kind of Salon des Refusé held by some of the artists rejected by the TOAE jurors. This recalls the words of Napoleon III: “Let the public judge!”

June 30, 2009

Durham is replete with creative energy, but few attribute this area with the arts. We’re more known for our industrial base, power plants and sports complexes (I’ve seen some great creative responses to these phenomena). The 905 belt around Toronto has been identified as a chronically under-funded region for arts development. But the tide is turning. The area is a microcosm for a variety of high-quality cultural production and people outside the arts are recognizing this. I think that we are well-poised for a shift to a more creative economy in the foreseeable future. This will be a subject which will be further explored later on this year, when we anticipate a visit from Richard Florida in mid-November.

Richard Florida, coming to Durham Region this September!

Richard Florida, coming to Durham Region this September!

Florida has written on the rise of the creative class in North American and European cities. The scheduled event with Richard Florida might galvanize interest in creative endeavours—it’s kind of possible.

June 19, 2009

It was a day before the Summer Solstice when I met with the Gallery’s upcoming exhibiting artist, Natalie Laluque. She is scheduled to show from July 25 to September 6, 2009. We were almost at the pinnacle of the our daylight hours. When I arrived at her studio, Deborah Nolan, Station Gallery’s Education Coordinator was already in the midst of a discussion with Natalie and her art making process.

Artist Natalia Laluque, in her home studio

We proceeded with an interview, in preparation for Natalie’s exhibition. There were several pictures included in the context of the interview and they played out as if actors waiting to appear on stage.

Check out Laluque’s work at: http://whitbystationgallery.com/current.php?id=AR5-T7, on view until September 6, 2009 at Whitby’s Station Gallery.