Art Talks

From live talks on Zoom with seasoned art experts, to Instagram TV conversations and curated picks, to pre-recorded webinars with some of TOAF's own artists, we have something that everyone will enjoy!



Jurors' Picks 2020

Available beginning Friday, July 3 at 3:30 pm  -  Watch the Recording on Youtube

Enjoy this pre-recorded panel as we connect online and meet the innovative artists whose work stood out to our jurors during the selection process of the 2020 artist roster.

Meet the Artists: Micah Adams, Keith EagerKal Mansur, Charlize Nhung Nguyen
Read more about the Jurors' Picks on the TOAF Blog.

Moderator: Lee Petrie, 2020 TOAF Jurors & Exhibitions Director, The Gladstone Hotel

Lee Petrie is the Exhibitions Director at the Gladstone Hotel, where she is responsible for programming exhibitions and installations for the hotel’s galleries and public spaces. Prior to joining the Gladstone team in October 2018, she was the Exhibitions and Residency Coordinator at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, and was curator at Toronto Pearson International Airport for 9 years. She was a member of the Board of Directors at Open Studio for four years, and is currently a member of the Toronto Public Art Commission. Her interests lie in curating exhibitions in non-traditional spaces, and in creating opportunities for emerging artists. Lee holds Masters degrees in Art History and Museum Studies.

How Art Collecting Works

Presented by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Supported by Designlines

Saturday, July 4 at 10:30 am - Live on Zoom - Watch the Recording on Youtube

Collecting precious objects is a human urge dating back to the ancients in Babylonia, Egypt, China, India, Mesoamerica, Greece and Rome. But what compels people to collect art? How do they decide what to collect, and once they have it, what do they do with it? Hear from two strong voices in the Canadian art world: one, a former gallerist with a significant personal collection; the other, a museum professional with responsibility for building and maintaining a public collection.

Joshua Heuman, Curator of Education & Public Programs at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, moderates this conversation with David Mirvish, Producer, Mirvish Productions, and Neil Brochu, Supervisor, Collections & Outreach for City of Toronto, Museums & Heritage Services.

Panelists: Neil Brochu, Supervisor, Collections & Outreach for City of Toronto, Museums & Heritage Services, David Mirvish, Producer, Mirvish Productions

Moderator: Joshua Heuman, Curator of Education & Public Programs, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

Joshua Heuman has been an art museum educator and curator since 2000. Before joining the staff at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery as Curator of Education and Public Programs, he held positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Salt Lake Art Center (now Utah Museum of Contemporary Art); Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University; and, Joslyn Art Museum. He has organized education and public programs; organized exhibitions; juried exhibitions and competitions; published essays, interviews, and reviews; presented conference papers; and, lectured at museums and universities. Born and raised in Toronto, Josh attended York University where he completed a BA in Visual Art (Art History) and an MA in Art History, focused on "content" in American post-World War II abstract painting.

Panelist: Neil Brochu, Supervisor, Collections & Outreach for City of Toronto, Museums & Heritage Services

Neil Brochu is the curator of the City of Toronto Art Collection, which is displayed in public buildings across the city.  The collection began in the 1850s and has since grown to include over 3000 art works. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Guelph and a Masters of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. A keen student of local history, material culture and fine art, Neil has worked with the City's art and artifact collections since 2004. He has steered numerous curatorial projects at the City's history museums; most recently Toronto through the Eyes of Women Artists – an exhibition at the Market Gallery exploring depictions of Toronto by women artists drawn from the City's collection.

Panelist: David Mirvish, Producer, Mirvish Productions

David Mirvish is a Canadian theatre producer and art collector. Mr. Mirvish began his career as an art dealer in 1963 when, at the age of 18, he opened the David Mirvish Gallery. Over the next 15 years, through some 130 exhibitions, the gallery became a focal point of Toronto’s cultural life and achieved international renown as a showcase for contemporary Canadian, American and British art. The gallery was considered a pillar in the establishment of the abstract art movement in Canada. The gallery closed in 1978. Mr. Mirvish continues to collect privately and to lend works to galleries and museums throughout the world.

Over 50 years, David and Audrey Mirvish have built a large and important collection of Abstract Expressionist art, with a particular focus on the Color Field movement, that includes the artists Jack Bush, Anthony Caro, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, David Smith and Frank Stella.


Emerging Artists to Watch by Tatum Dooley

Monday, July 6 at 3:30 pm on Instagram TV - Watch the Recording on Youtube

Get to know the next generation of TOAF artists who are demonstrating exceptional talent in pushing the boundaries of their art forms.

Meet the Artists: Christian Applegate, Raoul Olou, Stephanie Singh, Nami Ueno, and Isabella Varrasso

Moderator: Tatum Dooley, Curator, Canadian Art Forecast

Tatum Dooley is a writer and curator living in Toronto. She writes widely on cultural trends in art, architecture, fashion, and technology. Her writing has appeared in Artforum, Bordercrossings, Canadian Art, Editorial Magazine, Garage Magazine, the Globe & Mail, Lapham’s Quarterly, Hazlitt, Vogue UK, and The Walrus. She runs the Instagram account @cdnartforecast.

Artists: Stephanie Singh, Nami Ueno, Christian Applegate, Raoul Olou, Isabella Varrasso

From Concrete to Canvas – Making Art in the Public Realm

Presented by StreetARToronto

Wednesday, July 8 at 3:30 pm on Youtube

Street, mural and graffiti artists discuss their trajectory from small-scale ‘canvasses’ like utility boxes,  concrete barriers and gallery exhibits right up to small walls, 20 storey buildings and international street-art commissions. Join the panelists and learn what it takes to scale up your practice and make a living while making art in the public realm.

Artists: Jeff Blackburn, Marg Cresswell, Jieun June Kim, Leyland Adams, Karen RobertsQue Rock, Melika Saeeda and Alex Lazich | Bacon.

Panelist: Leyland Adams, Artist

Leyland Adams is mural artist with a passion for street art and community engagement. He has been creating murals for over a decade. Leyland completed his Advanced Diploma in Visual and Creative Arts at Sheridan College in 2014. Since then he has travelled across the country and the globe to create large-scale murals that engage communities. He is a creative person of colour who lives to empower and inspire his community through innovative art and collaboration.

Panelist: Jeff Blackburn, Artist

Jeff Blackburn is a multidisciplinary artist with over a decade of experience producing and exhibiting projects. The thematic core of Blackburn’s work is an introspective exploration of personal connection, with individual bodies of work directed to more specific concepts such as isolation, social dynamics, and growth. Drawing inspiration from the sequential art and graffiti/post-graffiti movements, Blackburn's work is known for its emphasis on line and texture, and its exploration of form using interpretive contour lines. Paintings are constructed by merging pop art aesthetics with urban art materials and techniques. His work can be found in numerous privately owned art collections, as well as corporate collections such as those of BMW, TED Conference, Live Nation, and Universal Music.

Panelist: Margaret Cresswell, Artist

Marg is an award-winning muralist who spent her final year of study in Florence, Italy. After graduating from Ontario College of Art she worked for several art studios in Toronto as a muralist. As requests for her own work grew, Marg opened her own studio, Murals By Marg, in 2001. She has completed numerous public and private commissions over the last 20 years in both residential and commercial settings. Since 2014, she has painted over two dozen public murals for StART, Bell Box Murals, and the City of Toronto. 2018 brought inclusion in the international street art book Urban Scrawl and in 2019 participation in the plein air, TV series, Landscape Artist of the Year Canada. Marg will be painting new murals this summer for StART and Mount Pleasant Village BIA. In November, Marg still hopes to travel to a painting residency at the Chateau D’Orquevaux, France, fingers crossed!

Panelist: Jieun June Kim, Artist

Jieun June Kim is a Toronto based, Korean born painter, muralist, and art producer. She has exhibited her paintings around the world since 2010 at notable galleries and events, exploring the idea of “home” as an immigrant. As an expansion of her studio work, Jieun is also interested in creating safe spaces through street art. She has created numerous murals with various arts organizations such as The STEPS Initiative, City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto as well as corporate partners such as Samsung, Up Canada and Collective Arts Brewery.

Panelist: Karen Roberts, Artist

A participant of various dance forms and physical activities throughout her life, Karen developed a fascination with the body and its ability to move in weird and wonderful ways. She paints using acrylic, latex, and aerosol, on paper, canvas, or walls, to portray moments of transitions, being off balance, falling, recovery, strengthening and growth. She also shoots and exhibits still photography.Karen created public art for the City of Toronto, King St. Pilot, streetARToronto, Bell Box Program and private organizations. She has exhibited at Art in the Park, Danforth East Art Fair, Barns Art Market, Bata Shoe Museum, Female Eye Film Festival, Contact, Snap, and Dance Ontario. Born in Toronto, practicing in the GTA. Karen graduated from Central Technical 3-year Adult Art, Ryerson Photography and Humber College Audio/Visual Technology Programs. Always curious, Karen continues to develop new skills with a 2020 Canada Council mentorship grant. Commissions for fine art and murals welcome.

Panelist: Que Rock, Artist

“I am a Nipissing First Nation born artist. I started life learning my cultures teachings, approaches and ceremonies through visual healing art forms. Painting, dancing, leatherwork and storytelling were taught through traditional Ojibway and Odawa ways. My mentors encouraged me to be creative and to not let anything go to waste with what I share in art. As a traditional Anishnawbe first nations graffiti artist, my work has matured from quick pieces into large street art projects and canvas work. Using my teachings and different methods I focus on unique painting styles and techniques to create smooth transitions of colour, blending abstract form with realism and expressionism.

I take interactions of my daily life, the city I live in and my Anishnawbe culture. I use it as a challenge for me to try out new styles and incorporate new subject matter. My love of nature and animals is prominent through my work because of its deep meaning and connection to life. I aspire for my artistic evolution to form a distinct look and feel. I call my style, Making the woodlands dance. Norval Morrisseau best describes how I approach my painting, he says as "If you can imagine an x-ray photo of spirit". My goal is to portray the teachings of my ancestors, sacred geometry and shapes in all my art forms." - Que Rock

Panelist:  Melika Saeeda, Artist

I was born after the revolution in Iran. The idea of freedom greatly influenced my whole life not only as an artist but as a human being. I began painting at an art university. My style draws upon elements of traditional Persian painting (Persian Miniatures), the “flatness” and unique composition of which are surprisingly contemporary.
After getting my BFA, I studied Graphic Design at TM university in Tehran. Meanwhile I started working as a freelance illustrator. Over the past 10 years I have illustrated more than 30 children’s books in Turkey and Iran and all the time I was trying to tell my story with my special language, picture language. My works have been shown in exhibitions and book fairs in Iran, The Emirates, South Korea and here in Canada but I got Inspired by this idea a few years ago which is that the art that we should be doing today in the 21st century should not be just for the museum, it’s art for the street and for people in their daily lives. Also thinking about freedom and social justice in my country lead me to express what I’m feeling through my art works on street walls so after I answered a call for submissions from Tehran City Hall I started to learn about and experience mural painting. Since then, I’ve opened my mind and eyes to observe other mural artists experiences. After coming to Toronto I’ve found a great number of mural artists and I’ve seen their art works in the city. Having this great chance to learn from one of them through a mentorship award I received from Toronto Arts Council in 2018 makes me feel so excited and enthusiastic and ready to start some mural projects out there. My style has changed from Miniature to Mural but, like my work as an illustrator, I try to use this medium's potential for telling stories.

Panelist:  Alex Lazich | Bacon, Artist

Bio Coming Soon!


Glimpsing the Future Vol. 2

Presented by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

Thursday, July 9 at 10:30 am - Live on Zoom (Register Here)
This Art Talk will be recorded and available on Youtube 

Organized by The Power Plant for Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, this program will introduce you to some of Toronto's diverse, innovative and emerging artists under age 35. After introductions, this fast-paced format allows each artist just 20 images and 20 seconds per image to describe their studio practice, process, and artworks. All artists will then be available for questions. Meet some of Toronto's diverse, innovative and emerging artists under 35. A fast-paced, dynamic and fun presentation.

Panelists: Valentin Brown, Claire Browne, Bruce Horak, Karina Iskandarsjah, Alejandro Rizzo Nervo, Yaw Tony

Moderator: Laura Demers, TD Curator of Education & Public Programs, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

Laura Demers is an emerging artist, writer, and curator based in Toronto. Her practice manifests through prints, digital images, installations, and scents. She recently curated Greenhouse Effects for Art Spin Hamilton, which featured video works by artists grappling with the implications of manipulating natural environments on intimate and industrial scales. Contre vents et marées (upcoming, at La Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario) expands on ecological remediation, and features artists/activists from the mining city of Sudbury. Laura will complete a research/creation residency at Centre SAGAMIE in Alma, QC in 2021. She is currently TD Curator of Education and Outreach Fellow at The Power Plant

Panelist: Valentin Brown, Artist

Valentin Brown creates “soft body horror” — a mythology of monsters that live on the “Body Farm.” Using mixed media images and sculpture, Valentin pieces together a gaze that is trans, trauma-informed, and on the autism spectrum. This lens not only reframes Valentin’s experience with awe, humour, and hope but also puts accessibility right at the heart of it all through touch and audio. In 2019, Valentin was awarded the Won Lee Fellowship and the Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency, and exhibited his first solo show, “Body Farm,” with Tangled Art + Disability.

Panelist: Claire Browne, Artist

Claire Browne is an emerging artist living and working in the Toronto area.  She graduated from OCAD University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree specializing in drawing and painting. Her art practice focuses on the themes of self-identity and heritage. She is particularly interested in landscape and the deep connection that people have between land and self-identity. Her own family’s stories consist of travel, displacement and adapting to new lands and cultural spaces. Through painting the Caribbean country St. Vincent and the Grenadines,

Panelist: Bruce Horak, Artist

Bruce Horak is a legally Blind performer/creator who lost over 90% of his eyesight to cancer as a baby.  His work seeks to express the unique way he sees the world through visual art, performance, storytelling, and music.  He delights in shifting his own perspective and the perspectives of his audience.  His work can be seen at

Panelist: Karina Iskandarsjah, Artist

Karina Iskandarsjah is an Indonesian visual artist and curator whose work highlights cultural hybridity and the experience and histories of geographically displaced individuals. She holds an MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD University. Karina currently works at Trinity Square Video, The Riverdale Hub, and Glory Hole Gallery for 2SLGBTQ+ artists.

Panelist: Alejandro Rizzo Nervo, Artist

Alejandro Rizzo Nervo is a visual artist whose practice is based in photography, collage, photomontage and non traditional printing processes. In a manipulated reality born out of the artist’s personal knowledge and experiences, Rizzo Nervo utilizes symbols and iconography that reflect a visual analysis of Venezuela and its citizens throughout moments in time. He was born in Caracas, Venezuela and immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 2014. He was the recipient of a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from OCAD University in 2019. He has participated in multiple group exhibitions in Canada and Italy. He is currently completing a postgraduate degree in Project Management.

Panelist: Yaw Tony, Artist and Designer

Yaw Tony is a designer and artist based in Toronto. Trained in architecture, graphic design, and fine art, he also works in product design and creative consulting. His work has been exhibited worldwide and has been published widely, notably in Cent Magazine and Making Africa; A Continent of Contemporary Design. In 2018, he was also the cover feature of Designlines. Yaw Tony is the founder of LLiM, textiles, and visual communication art projects. LLiM is a design/artistic house dedicated to the creation of inimitable quality products, an odyssey into a world of visual journeys where artistry and character likewise demonstrate a mastery of design. His artistic practice is deeply sourced by the idea of value and the refinement of use of colours, its reconnection to humanity, and its impact on human behaviour.


What is Toronto's Year of Public Art, 2021?

Friday, July 10 at 2:00 pm - Live on Zoom (Register here)
Saturday, July 11 at 3:30 pm - Youtube Recording 

As announced by Toronto Mayor John Tory in November 2019, Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021 will celebrate and encourage the exploration of art in public places throughout the year. Recognizing the work that culture plays in boosting the economy, this program demonstrates a continued commitment to public art and now is also playing an important role in the City's COVID-19 recovery efforts. Launching the City’s new 10-year Public Art Strategy, the Year of Public Art will put this strategy into action with a dynamic program creating opportunities for artists, cultural institutions and private sector partners alike while reaching across the City’s diverse population and neighbourhoods. Members of the Mayor’s External Advisory Committee for the Year of Public Art 2021 will discuss their perspectives on this important City initiative and why they are lending their energy and individual expertise to ensure its success.

Panelists: Joe Sellors, Manager, Year of Public Art at City of Toronto; Corrie Jackson, Curator;  Bonnie Devine, Artist, Curator and Associate Professor, OCAD; Michèle Pearson Clarke, Photographer, Lecturer at Ryerson University and Photo Laureate for City of Toronto; John Samuels, Co-owner, Blank Canvas Gallery

Moderator: Rui Pimenta, Artist, Founder, Art Spin

Rui Pimenta practiced as a visual artist from 2000-2014, exhibiting his work extensively in Canada and internationally. Since then, he has shifted his focus towards curatorial roles and projects. He served as co-director and curator for Median Contemporary (2008-10), a pop-up gallery whose mandate was the presentation of new media, and installation based projects. 

He has curated projects for the Toronto Artists Project, the Toronto Outdoor Exhibition and Eastern Front Gallery. Rui founded Art Spin in 2009, an independent arts organization now entering its 11th season of producing and curating site-specific, multidisciplinary programming in unique/alternative spaces. He has served on various Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council juries, currently sits on The Bentway Advisory Committee in Toronto, and is a member of the City of Toronto’s Public Art Strategy Advisory Committee for the Year of Public Art 2021 project. His curatorial aspirations are largely motivated by the enthusiastic pursuit of new and engaging ways to present art in public space. He studied at the Toronto School of Art and graduated with honours in Philosophy and the Humanities.

Panelist: Joe Sellors, Manager, Year of Public Art at City of Toronto

As the Project Lead for Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021 initiative, Joe Sellors is committed to successfully launching the City of Toronto’s new 10-year public art strategy with impact. Playing multiple roles over 13 years at the City of Toronto, Joe has worked with a variety of high-profile artists such as Ai Weiwei, Director X, JR, Douglas Coupland, and Daniel Lanois; leading the realization of several large-scale projects via roles as A/Manager of Programming, City Cultural Events and Production Lead for Nuit Blanche Toronto. As the Vice President and Director of Operations for the Design Exchange’s EDIT Festival in 2017, Joe led the launch of the highly publicized Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology held at the former Unilever Soap Factory located at the foot of the DVP. Joe perpetually exhibits a tireless passion for the city’s Arts & Culture sector and looks forward to expanding opportunities for artists, cultural organizations, and for people to engage and experience the power of art throughout the city.

Panelist: Bonnie Devine, Artist, Curator and Associate Professor, OCAD

Bonnie Devine is a cross-disciplinary artist, educator, curator, and writer. A descendant of the Anishinaabek of Serpent River First Nation, Genaabaajing, in Ontario, Devine’s artwork emerges from the storytelling and image-making traditions embedded in Ojibwe culture. Her installation, video, and curatorial projects have been exhibited in North andSouth America, Russia, Europe, and China, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Berlin Film Festival, the National Museum of the American Indian, and Today ArtMuseum in Beijing China. Associate Professor Emerita and Founding Chair of the Indigenous Visual Culture program at OCAD University, she lives and works in Toronto.

Panelist: Corrie Jackson, RBC Senior Curator

Corrie Jackson is a Curator based in Toronto, Canada.  She is currently the RBC Senior Curator, joined RBC in 2014, overseeing the management and strategy of the RBC Corporate Art Collection. Previ­ously she worked at the University of Toronto Art Museum, Sotheby’s Canada, commercial galleries, and as an independent curator. She finished her Masters in Visual Studies, Curatorial Practice at the University of Toronto with a focus on contemporary Canadian artists. Her curatorial interests focus on cross-generational dialogues and developing the role of collections as accountable and inclusive narratives.

Panelist: Michèle Pearson Clarke, Photographer, Lecturer at Ryerson University and Photo Laureate for City of Toronto

Michèle Pearson Clarke is a Trinidad-born artist, writer and educator working in photography, film, video and installation. She holds an MSW from the University of Toronto, and she received her MFA from Ryerson University in 2015. Clarke is the recipient of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts 2019 Finalist Artist Prize, and she  has upcoming solo exhibitions at La Centrale (Montreal), Mercer Union (Toronto) and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. She is currently a sessional lecturer in the Documentary Media Studies program at Ryerson University, and the Photo Laureate for the City of Toronto (2019-2022).

Panelist: John Samuels, Co-owner, Blank Canvas Gallery

Just John Samuels: Liberated Youth, embrace wonder.


Fair Top Awards

Saturday, July 11 at 10:30 am - Live on Zoom (Registration coming soon)
Sunday, July 12 at 10:30 am - Youtube Recording

Sit with TOAF’s senior leadership and industry insiders as they take you through the 2020 Top Award Winners and get the inside scoop on what makes these artists and their work truly exceptional. More details to be announced 

Award Winners: TBA