The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE) is the largest outdoor art exhibition in Canada and has established itself as an important event within the Canadian arts community. The three-day event is free and open to the public. It attracts over 100, 000 visitors each year. This was my second time attending, and this year I did so as a volunteer. You can read my post about last year's event here. I was one of a team of well organized and hard working volunteers. Major props to the TOAE team. I signed up for "artist relief", which is just an extension of what I would have done attending as a non-volunteer. I was tasked with talking to artists and being available to stand in for them if they needed to step away from their booth for a while. Tough work, I know. This position allowed me the chance to have long conversations with artists, have extra time to immerse myself in their amazing work, and when I was initially mistaken for the artist, experience for a brief moment what it must feel like for people to be fascinated by your artistic talent.
Once again, over 300 artists were in Nathan Phillip's Square showing and selling art spanning various disciplines including photography and digital media, painting, ceramics and sculpture, mixed media. This year the exhibition stepped away from the traditional aisle format and tried out a new layout. In a post event email, they mentioned that they did this to avoid visitors from experiencing fair fatigue, and reported that though there were a few "quirks to iron out", overall they had great feedback about the fact that there was more open space to move around and with a few rounds visitors were certain to have seen all the ‘neighbourhoods’. I got a chance to meet and see artwork from artists I've been following on Instagram for quite some time and discovered many "new to me" artists.
Did you attend TOAE this year? I'd love to hear about your favourites.
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Story and photos by Glodeane Brown