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TOAF60 Press Release

May 19, 2021

Canada’s largest and longest-running contemporary outdoor art fair is turning 60!

Toronto Outdoor Art Fair will take place from July 2-11 and celebrate 400+ artists online.

May 19, 2021 (Toronto, ON): Celebrating their milestone 60th Anniversary this year, Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (TOAF) will bring together the public and artists once again to connect, engage, and showcase art via their online platform for the second consecutive year. Starting today, the public will be able to get to know the 400+ juried artists, browse thousands of artworks, start planning their art purchases, and get a sneak peek of all the exciting programming celebrating TOAF60. The main cultural hub for TOAF60 will be hosted on the not-for-profit arts organization’s new website at TOAF.ca.

TOAF began in the parking lot of the Four Seasons Motor Hotel in 1961 when founders and philanthropists Murray and Marvelle Koffler joined forces with former Director of the National Gallery of Canada Alan Jarvis, and artist Jack Pollock. Four years later, the Fair moved to the newly built Nathan Phillips Square and has since showcased over 20,000 artists, given out over one million dollars in awards, generated millions in artist sales, and welcomed over 130,000 visitors and collectors annually. 60 years later, TOAF not only prevails but continues to innovate and reinvent. Last year, TOAF swiftly shifted to a robust, contemporary e-commerce platform and delivered a highly engaging digital event and online fair that saw a 300% increase in visitor traffic to the website. Art lovers throughout Canada, the US, and as far as Japan and Hong Kong, brought over 600 works of art to their homes, offices and galleries.

We are so proud of how far TOAF has come over the years and to have played a role in the careers of so many talented artists”, says Anahita Azrahimi, TOAF Executive & Creative Director. “There are so many artists who began at TOAF’s iconic tents and have since experienced great success. One of the most amazing things about the Fair is discovering new talent and watching them grow and prosper. We can’t wait to see what the next 60 years will bring!”

TOAF60’s jury panel, which includes artists and educators Joanne Tod and Annie Tung, muralist and illustrator Adrian Hayles, and sculptor and installation artist W.W. Hung, have carefully selected 400+ artists from 840 applications (the highest since 2013) for this year’s digital art fair. Visitors and collectors will be able to support their favourite seasoned artists and discover inspiring new talent by engaging online and purchasing artworks from the comfort of home or anywhere they are connected, starting July 2nd.

As always, the 2021 online edition of the fair will include exciting incentives and activations for artists and the public, including TOAF’s coveted Awards Program of $40,000 cash and in-kind awards, Artist-led Studio Tours, Instagram Live artist chats and virtual panel discussions with programming partners at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, and StreetARToronto.

Continuing this year is Gifts of Heart, a fundraising campaign to give gifts of art to frontline workers nominated by the public. The hope is to give a moment of joy and a small token of gratitude in the way TOAF knows best — by offering frontline workers the beauty and inspiration of a gift of art. This initiative has a double impact and provides economic support and art sales for independent artists who have been affected by the pandemic. Art lovers can make a tax-deductible charitable donation to TOAF’s Gift of Heart campaign to fund gift cards for frontline workers in health care and essential services that will be redeemable to purchase art at TOAF.ca between July 2-11.

“During a time where networking and sales opportunities for artists have halted for over a year due to the pandemic, we are proud to step up and replicate the sense of community and enthusiasm for art and independent artists in a digital format. Building on the success of last year’s online fair, we hope to join forces with the art loving public to celebrate the legacy of Toronto Outdoor Art Fair and make the 60th Anniversary a stellar financial success for participating artists.” - Anahita Azrahimi.

Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (TOAF) is grateful to the Koffler Family Foundation, the 60th Anniversary Lead Patron. TOAF60 acknowledges the generous support by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, City of Toronto, The Lindy Green Family Foundation and all of the donors, programming partners, and media partners. TOAF60 is partnering with ArtworxTO, which will officially launch in Fall 2021.

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About Toronto Outdoor Art Fair

Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, Canada’s largest and longest-running outdoor art fair, celebrates 60 years of influencing the accessibility and growth of appreciation and participation in the arts in Canada. Since 1961, TOAF has been a key part in launching and sustaining the careers of 20,000 Canadian artists by directly connecting them to millions of art lovers, and public and private institutions. TOAF has given over one million dollars in awards, and continues to play an important role in nurturing the City of Toronto’s arts and culture sector while making art an integral part of the lives of Canadians. This free public event has historically showcased works by over 360 contemporary visual artists and makers, ranging in medium from painting, photography and mixed media, to jewellery and ceramics. Each year at Nathan Phillips Square, 130,000 visitors spend over $2 million on art purchases during the three-day fair.

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Media Contact
Karli Kachur, Brill Communications
e: [email protected] w: 416-533-6425

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