Partners in Art Announces Approved Funding Projects for 2016-17

August 3, 2016News Releases

Seven contemporary art projects ranging from commissions to survey exhibitions of Canadian artists to bringing internationally acclaimed artists to Canada to exhibit their work

Partners in Art (PIA), the volunteer-led, charitable organization of 135 art supporters who champion promoting contemporary Canadian art, today announced the funding of seven art projects for the 2016-17 season.

Each project reflects PIA’s continued support of contemporary art in Canada. Whether it’s commissions with smaller partners, survey exhibitions of Canadian artists or the support for major American artists’ exhibitions to come to Toronto, PIA continues to support and broaden its mission. And, for the first time in PIA’s history, the organization is also supporting its own self-initiated art project, LandMarks2017/ Repères2017.

“Our 2016-17 line-up of funded projects is both diverse and exciting for the visual arts community both in Toronto and also across Canada,” state PIA Co-Presidents Mimi Joh, and Jennifer Morton. “We’re pleased to fund these seven projects and to work alongside a broad array of partners and artists in a wide variety of media”.

An overview of the PIA funded projects in 2016-2017

Theaster Gates at the AGO – PIA is supporting a commissioned project by the Chicago- based artist Theaster Gates currently at the AGO. Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum is an immersive and confrontational installation that explores notions of blackness, movement, queer culture, freedom and the history of house music, by juxtaposing objects and ideas not traditionally found in spaces of high culture to provide a radically new visitor experience. This exhibition is Gates’s largest and most extensive North American gallery presentation to date.

The Koffler Gallery – PIA is the lead sponsor for the upcoming exhibition Yonder at the Koffler Gallery. Taking place from September 21 to November 27 th , 2016 the exhibition will explore themes of inter-cultural translation, displacement and identity construction, and bring together a group of Canadian artists of diverse cultural backgrounds whose works examine the immigrant condition from personal experience. Developed by Koffler Gallery curator Mona Filip in collaboration with guest curator Matthew Brower, the project expands into the broader space of Artscape Youngplace, crossing the borders of the designated gallery setting and engaging shared public areas as well as the building’s exterior.

Gallery TPW – For her first exhibition in Toronto in September 2017, American-born filmmaker and multimedia artist, Cauleen Smith will create a series of public site interventions in collaboration with local Toronto artists. Based in Chicago, Cauleen Smith is best known for her experimental works that address the African American identity, specifically the issues facing black women today.

Mercer Union – PIA has sponsored a series of commissioned solo exhibitions in collaboration with Mercer Union. The third and final commission, by Omaskêko Cree from Moose Cree First Nation artist Duane Linklater, is entitled From Our Hands. It references an exhibition of indigenous craft that toured Ontario between 1983 and 1985, including the work of Ethel Linklater, Duane’s grandmother. This installation is an intervention into given structures as the gallery walls of Mercer Union will be removed and the given spaces expanded. The exhibition takes place from September 9 to November 5 2016.

The Textile Museum of Canada – PIA is pleased to collaborate with The Textile Museum of Canada to bring the exhibition Sheila Hicks: Material Voices to Canada in October 2016. The presentation, organized jointly with the Joslyn Art Museum of Nebraska highlights leading international contemporary artist, Sheila Hicks as she speaks to global craft traditions, the history of painting and sculpture, graphic design, and architecture. Nebraska – born Hicks has redefined the role of fibre in art and influenced a generation of contemporary artists. From monumental architectural interventions to her more intimate works, Hicks’ singular approach to materials brings together a finely tuned sensitivity to colour, line, and texture with a distinct consciousness of how her work transforms physical space.

LandMarks2017/Repères2017 – PIA’s LandMarks2017/Repères2017 is a year-long, nationwide initiative that will bring together a team of nationally acclaimed curators, established Canadian contemporary artists, 16 Canadian art universities, a university curriculum involving numerous post-secondary art students, and local communities to collaboratively create works of art that will be installed in numerous Parks Canada locations from June 10-25, 2017.

Art Museum at the University of Toronto – In collaboration with the Art Museum at the University of Toronto (formerly known as the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at Hart House / University of Toronto Art Centre), PIA sponsored an extensive survey of Toronto artists entitled Showroom, a survey exhibition of Toronto works that emerged within a period of rapid urban development of the city. The exhibition, which ran last winter from January through March 2016, considered how the rapidly transforming cityscape has appeared both as backdrop and as material in Toronto artworks from the past decade. Some key highlights of the programming included a commissioned installation; the integration of works in sculpture, video, painting; and painting from a wide gamut of local artists both senior and emergent.

“Becoming sponsors and partners to the Canadian visual arts community is paramount to our mission at PIA,” add Joh and Morton. “As we continue to champion Canadian contemporary art and artists throughout 2016-17 our willingness to support ground breaking projects both big and small grows, and our contemporary art conversation remains active and accessible to all.”


Since 2002, PIA has invested more than $1.5 million in 50+ projects while working in cooperation with 21 partners. For more information, visit Partners in Art or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Media contact:

Eileen Tobey, beSPEAK Communications Inc. (416) 540-4047