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TOAF Love

February 13, 2021

Here at TOAF, it has become a mini tradition to share the love we receive from our community every February. It’s that particular time when the memory of the show becomes distant enough that we crave a reminder of how special it is to be a part of this wonderful community. Obviously, because we haven't seen each other in person since July 2019, we felt we all needed a reminder more than ever. 

We thought to share some of these love notes and memories with you today. These stories from emerging and seasoned artists, partners and donors weave the fabric of TOAF's 60-year history and legacy. We hope they inspire you to stay connected and engaged with us until we can gather in person again.

Speaking of gatherings, our Call for Artists deadline is a few weeks away. We are going ahead with our celebratory plans for our 60th Anniversary. It is true that we are still waiting for public health guidelines to know for certain how our summer show will unfold, but we know for sure, from last year's experience, that regardless of what happens, we will come together again to have a dynamic and successful online Fair.

In the words of the artists

Photo: Joanne Tod (left), with Noelle Hamlyn, 2019 Best of Art Fair Winner, and anahita azrahimi, TOAF Creative and Executive Director

Joanne Tod, renowned artist and TOAF Alumni

"I exhibited my work at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair in 1974, just after graduating from Ontario College of Art... There were no booths; we artists simply mounted our work on easels and plinths and hoped the weather would cooperate! Although I did not show again at the Fair, I continued to visit regularly. It has been very gratifying to see its evolution to the important Toronto exhibition event that it’s become."

Barbara Astman, renowned artist and TOAF Alumni

"I did the TOAF directly upon graduating from OCA (now called OCAD University). There was a small group of us from the art college that all decided to do this together for moral support... I did sell a few pieces at the show and occasionally have run into people all these years later who remind me that they bought a piece there for a VERY reasonable price and how happy the work has made them over the years. I was happy that they took a chance on me, a young unknown artist. I also had a lot of fun and made great trades with other artists and learned how to handle myself in this kind of public situation. I think all young artists should do this show and learn what there is to be learned from the whole experience!"

Photo: Cristine Yunyk in her TOAF booth in 2017, when she won the Emerging Artist by Emerging Curator Award

Cristine Yunyk, TOAF Alumni

"My first year showing at TOAF as a student was definitely a life changing experience. I sold my 3 largest works to a local gallerist within the first hour of the show, and the rest were gone by noon the next day. These were the first paintings I had ever sold. On top of everything, I was selected for the 1st annual Emerging Artist by Emerging Curator Award, which put me in my first gallery show at Propeller Gallery along with some other very talented artists. The whole experience was thrilling, but most importantly gave me a huge boost of confidence to keep working hard and to believe in the work that I make."

Meditation Journal, Anand Jaggernauth, oil on panel, 2020

Anand Jaggernauth, TOAF Alumni

“2017 was my first time at TOAF. My booth was almost sold out and my sales and commissions from TOAF exceeded $15,000! One of my pieces was sold whilst I was still unpacking and setting up my booth on Friday morning when an art collector stopped mid-pace to acquire a must-have piece for their corporate collection.”

Halo, Keight MacLean, acrylic and paint marker on round wood panel, 2020

Keight MacLean, 2020 Best of Painting Award Winner

“This year was yet another challenge. With the pandemic, I think a lot of us were scared that TOAF wouldn’t happen, or it wouldn’t be as good as past years. Luckily, they managed to pull off a beautiful transition to digital, both through the online store and all of their great online events and content. Seeing it all come together and seeing all the familiar faces really brought a tear to my eye and when I received the ‘Best of Painting’ award... I was just overcome by the thought of how much this show has done for me.” 

Photo: Steve Kean in his TOAF booth in 2017, when he won Best of Photography

Steve Kean, 2017 Best of Photography Award Winner

"The online fair is a brilliant idea! Not only does it allow us to still get our work out there and make new friends and clients, it levels the playing field for disabled artists. I am looking forward to building my online gallery and connecting with potential customers and collectors." 

Seating Arrangement, Gordon Leverton, acrylic on canvas, 2020

Gordon Leverton, TOAF Alumni

"TOAF is an outstanding, curated, organized, and one of the best in-person and online shows... I'm honoured to have been able to participate at TOAF for 15 years, and I'm hoping for 15 more. I miss seeing my TOAF artist and collector friends, however, the online version allows us to connect virtually as well. To all artists — seriously apply!" 

 

In the words of the community

Aaron Milrad, Philanthropist, Art Collector and Legacy Donor

"The fair over the past number of years has matured. It has become increasingly important and has given rise to an opportunity for numerous artists to put their wares on display and earn money and build their reputation... The audience itself has become a more sophisticated one, recognizing the improved quality of the works available for sale. TOAF is a wonderful art meeting place."

Gary Taxali, Illustrator, OCAD U Professor and 2018 Juror

“The wide array of talented and diverse artists at TOAF really impressed me. The many emerging and established contemporary artists brought a fresh and exciting perspective to the fair.  I think having a wide array of approaches and disciplines is important, not only to keep it visually inspiring, but to show the public how amazing Canadian artists truly are.”

Monica Gutierrez, Development and Partnership Manager, Scarborough Arts

“We had hundreds of visitors, made important connections, introduced our artists to key Toronto cultural leaders, and were able to offer an accessible entry point for artists to sell their work and grow their audiences. The six artists that participated had amazing feedback to give and were glad to support each other through a very busy and intense three days. TOAF supported our process and set up as a first-time participant to the festival, and were there to help or clarify every step of the way.”

Application Info Session (Feb 16)

Join us on Tuesday, February 16th, 7pm on Zoom for a virtual professional development opportunity. Learn how you can strengthen your application portfolios for art fairs like ours, and ask your questions directly to TOAF staff. Free or pay what you can.
Register Now

 

Learn more about why you should apply to our 60th Anniversary Fair

60th Anniversary Lead Patron

Public Funders

Special Initiative Supporters

Major Award Partners

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In-Kind Sponsors

Programming Partners

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Community Partners