Artists & Projects

An Open Call for Projects invited Toronto-based artists and collectives to propose new public artworks that could:

  • Examine, explore, or challenge the notion of what a “public square” should or could be;
  • Reference, play with, or challenge the traditional uses/activities of public squares; and
  • Explore the potential of public squares as spaces for social engagement, discourse, and civic activism.

A series of public consultations and workshops with the local community were held providing an opportunity for the artists to further enhance their project research and development with direct input from community members.

Explore, enjoy, and experience the Main Squared festival from August 26 to September 3. Blending contemporary art and community art projects, Main Squared will feature art installations, interactive activities, workshops, performances, and more.

Click on the links or images below to learn more about each Project.

Artist: kipjones
Project: Echo is a work that uses cast iron and cast aluminum plinths to reference the notions of a “soap box” and “speakers corner” in a way that democratizes heroism.

BIO: kipjones is an active and experienced public artist, sculptor and instructor living in Toronto. Over the past two decades he has created public and studio-based work that have addressed various issues of the critical and conceptual discourse of contemporary three-dimensionality. More specifically, he believes that contemporary sculpture is an open genre that speaks to “space” as a societal dimension, “gesture” as an action or event, and “time” as a response or reflection in a contemporary arrangement of content. Through his artistic research he addresses the complexity of space through immersive site-specific installations, public art, and object making. His permanent public art projects and ones co‐designed are installed at the Calgary International Airport, AB; Moncton City Hall, NB; Whistler, BC; Kelowna Public Library, BC; King’s Square, Charlottetown, PEI; and Markham Museum, ON.

Artist: Paul Chartrand
Project: Living Text will be grown inside “The Pit” (an abandoned courtyard) to emphasize the marginalized life found at the periphery of urban spaces.

BIO: Paul Chartrand works with constructed habitats built from found objects and integrated living components. His projects include various mediums and practical methodologies but focus particularly on sculpture and drawing. Paul finds inspiration in the blurry definitions of culture and nature; intending for his work to foster dialogue regarding this problematic dichotomy. Paul recently completed his Master of Fine Arts degree at Western University. He has exhibited at galleries including the Roadside Attractions (Toronto), Xpace Cultural Centre (Toronto), Younger Than Beyonce Gallery (Toronto), Boarding House Gallery (Guelph), Artlab and Satellite Gallery(London), Idea Exchange (Cambridge) and the CAFKA Biennial in Kitchener.

Artists: Ernestine Aying & Ryan Phyper
Project: Block Party is a vibrant and interactive seating installation that promotes play and discovery, creating a hub for community engagement.

BIO: Ernestine Aying is a designer from Brampton, interested in community development through urban design. In 2015, Ernestine received her Bachelor of Design degree from the Environmental Design program at OCAD University. Ernestine looks to create and design experiences and moments that form connections between people and spaces.

Ryan Phyper is an artist and designer from Toronto, interested in community engagement through art and design. In 2015, Ryan received his Bachelor of Design degree from the Environmental Design program at OCAD University. Ryan currently creates site-specific installation work, engaging with disused or abandoned spaces throughout the GTA.

Artist: Emily DiCarlo
Project: To The Minute Unknown transforms a broken light post into a sundial-inspired, 24hr video surveilled timepiece, contrasting organic time-keeping with technological punctuality.

BIO: Emily DiCarlo is a Toronto-based visual artist who works across all mediums. She has exhibited her work both locally and abroad including, but not limited to: MU artspace (Eindhoven, NL), NXNE Music Festival, Artscape Youngplace, Lakeshore Arts (Toronto, CA), The Orthodox Academy (Crete, EL), L’Oeil de Poisson (Quebec City, CA), and The Hungarian Museum of Travel and Tourism (Budapest, HU).

She has presented her theories and criticisms as part of the 14th Triennial Conference of the International Society for the Study of Time (Monte Verde, CR), International Artist-in-Residency Summer Program organized by the Hungarian Multicultural Centre (Budapest, HU) and the 16th Triennial Conference of the International Society for the Study of Time (ISST) at the University of Edinburgh. Her writing has been published in 1W3KND: On Social Practice and Collaboration, 48 Hours at a Time (Broken City Lab) and artist book Hydra Era (L’Œil de Poisson).

Artist: Aaron Hendershott
Project: Cross/Section invites residents of Main Square to adorn a storefront display with personal items that tell a story about their identity and culture, forming a mosaic which embodies the diversity of this community.

BIO: Aaron Hendershott is a local architect with a background encompassing fashion, digital media, and public art. His work focuses on interaction, inclusiveness, storytelling, and the relationship between art, architecture, and public space. He is one of the organizers of the annual Winterstations competition and has received the Ontario Association of Architects Award and Toronto Urban Design Award for his work in public art. As a resident of the Main and Danforth community he is familiar with both the vibrancy and the challenges the Main Square community and is excited at the opportunity of exhibiting work in his neighbourhood.

Artists: Emily Harrison & Tara Dorey
Project: Life Size Collage invites everyone to join in collaboratively building a diorama which will transform an empty storefront into a world which comes alive when we let ourselves mix imagination and play with glue, tape, and anything we can find!

BIO: Both Tara and Emily are visual artists with backgrounds in fine art, collaborative mural making, and public art.

Tara Dorey has been working in the community arts field since 2012, after graduating from OCAD University with a BFA in Drawing and Painting, alongside York University’s Community Arts Practice Certificate. Her work with the public and community based art includes roles of program direction, management, facilitation, and arts education on murals, art programs, projects for groups such as Mural Routes, VIBE Arts for Children and Youth, Nuit Blanche, OCAD Student Gallery, and Toronto District School Board.

Emily Harrison has recently graduated with a BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCAD University, in addition to a degree in Urban Geography from Vancouver Island University. For the past four years, since moving to Toronto, Emily has been working as an artist educator with Mural Routes, VIBE Arts, and in the AGO’s Education Department. Both artists are interested in further exploring how to connecting their art practices to the public in re-imagining urban environments. They are excited for opportunities to branch out beyond more traditional art education, to try out ideas for experimentation, creative play, and public engagement.

Project: Inverting Perspectives sheds light on Main Square’s public space by altering vacant advertising sites on its main sign. The project aims to readdress the current and projected use of this particular public space.

BIO: St Marie φ Walker began exclusively collaborating in 2010 as the Toronto based collective TIMEANDDESIRE. Since that time they have installed art interventions in Japan, Chicago, Las Vegas, Victoria, The Canadian Prairies, Windsor, Toronto, and Montreal. They have exhibited their work in notable galleries such as the Art Gallery of Windsor, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Thames Art Gallery, Markham Museum, Whippersnapper, Harbourfront Centre, Latcham Gallery, and art events such as Nuit Blanche Toronto, Art in Transit, and the Toronto Urban Film Festival. In 2016 they collaboratively worked with New York based artist Steve Lambert to produce art intervention works for the International Aids Conference in South Africa. In 2017 the pair debuted their collaborative Masters work The Re-examined Life at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG).

Artist: Erika James
Project: Let’s All Meet Here! is a mural that aspires to draw in community and visitors to enjoy the festivities at Main Squared Festival.

BIO: Erika James strives to connect community to art by encouraging people to engage in their public spaces. As Co-founder of the Open Field Collective, James brings art right onto the streets by programming mini-installations in people’s front yards. Her work has been exhibited at galleries and art festivals such as Nuit Blanche, Hamilton Supercrawl Festival, McMaster Museum of Art, Animating Our Waterfront Festival, Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, Harcourt House, and she has a permanent public art installation at the Holland Bloorview Hospital. James is also known as street artist NIXO.

Artist: DJ Mini
Project: Interactive Sound Table is collaborative music creation at your fingertips! Play some music with your peers by touching conductive elements on a sound table.

BIO: Evelyne Drouin is the un-categorizable artist, whose style and approach to sound have earned her an international reputation under the brand of DJ Mini. With an extensive knowledge of music crafting and media arts, and having dabbled in circuit bending and advanced audio technology, Evelyne sculpts textural sonic environments, soundscapes, hybrids, and installations that actively respond to the participant.

Artist: Sean Smith
Project: Mainiature – curbside junk from the surrounding area is repurposed with scraps from Danforth carpet bazaars to create a sculptural installation doubling as a miniature golf course.

BIO: Sean Smith is an artist, writer and athlete who lives in East York and has presented internationally as part of the Department of Biological Flow arts-based research collective. He was the inaugural Artist/Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Western Ontario in 2011-12, a participant at the Wood Land School residency in 2013, and one of the curators of Channel Surf, a 200km canoeing-arts journey that was one of 5 projects worldwide accepted to Project Anywhere in 2015. He is currently adjunct faculty in wearable sculpture at OCAD University and a founding member of Murmur Land Studios, an experimental field school initiative for the post-anthropocene era.

Artist: Kanchan Quinlan
Project: Intertwined is a whimsical and interactive art installation made of glowing hula hoops of various sizes and fluorescent colours, animating the public square during the day and night.

BIO: Kanchan Quinlan, an Indo-Canadian Architectural Designer, is the Founder of In [Between] Spaces based in Toronto. In [Between] Spaces is a design agency that creates community driven design projects to revitalize under-used public spaces. Since 2013, Kanchan has designed, built, and led community workshops for art and architecture projects locally and internationally. Her built installations include My Canada Is in Toronto, Mot à Mot in Montreal, and Dinner is Served Pavilion in Ottawa. The design phase for Ritual Architecture was completed in Northern India. For Kanchan, it is the in-between spaces, whether public or private, inside or outside, and temporary or permanent that challenge and drive her projects.

Artist: Vivian Wong
Project: You Are Invited is a day of birthday parties and interactive games where you can be a guest or the birthday girl or boy. Bring your friends and make new ones as we explore the community-making ritual of birthday parties.

BIO: Vivian Wong is an artist, arts educator, and workshop facilitator. As founder of Wabi-Sabi Collective, she has animated spaces for Nuit Blanche Toronto and Culture Days Ontario with interactive and ephemeral public installations and community art. “You Are Invited” is a collaboration with her two children, Daniel and Elisabeth, and is inspired by Elisabeth, who loves many things like art, music, and ballet, but birthday parties and cake most of all. Elisabeth will be in grade 4 in September and Daniel will be in grade 7. Daniel’s first public art project, a snail intervention to draw attention to the unseen and ordinary beauty in the urban wilderness, consisted of hundreds of origami snails and was part of Grow Op 2017 at the Gladstone Hotel.

Curators: Labspace Studio

BIO: Labspace Studio is a Toronto-based creative studio and artist collective run by Co-Directors John Loerchner and Laura Mendes (who also live and work in the Main & Danforth Neighbourhood). Labspace Studio’s art projects and curatorial initiatives are often site-specific, public and participatory in nature, blurring the lines between art and everyday life. They aim to create work that explores and uncovers the intricate connections between people and places.

Main Squared is presented by East End Arts, and is a Cultural Hotspot Signature project in partnership with the City of Toronto. Contemporary art projects curated by Labspace Studio.



Main Squared is made possible by the generous support of Partners, Sponsors and Funders. Thank you to: