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INTERVIEW: Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Preview

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore speaks with Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Executive Director Anahita Azrahimi

WHO: Anahita Azrahimi

WHAT: The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition

WHERE: Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall

WHEN: Friday July 14th through Sunday July 16th




The annual Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Canada’s largest and longest running outdoor art exhibition, returns July 14 to 16, 2017 with hundreds of new artists and newly designed exhibition grounds at Nathan Phillips Square.  This free public event features creations by 340 contemporary artists – more than half who are first-time participants at the exhibition – and includes paintings, photography, mixed media, jewellery and ceramics.

This year more than 720 applications were reviewed by an external jury of seasoned artists, industry experts and professionals that included Noa Bronstein (Gallery 44), Taiga Lipson (Olga Korper Gallery), Robert Mitchell (OCAD), and Jess Riva Cooper (Sheridan College).  The jury selected 340 artists in five categories: Painting, 2D Works (Drawing, Illustration, Mixed Media, Print Making); 3D Works (Sculpture, installation, reliefs); Craft & Design (Ceramics, Glass, Jewellery, Textile, Wood/Furniture); and Photography & Digital Media.   Visit the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition website at to view the full 2017 Artist Roster.

To improve the exhibition experience for visitors and artists alike, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition worked with PLANT Architect Inc., the award-winning firm responsible for the revitalization and renovation of Nathan Phillips Square, to redesign the exhibition site.  Inspired by the design of a neoclassical city, the new layout is reminiscent of a Spanish town with buildings circling the main plaza, where visitors are encouraged to wander and explore.  Also incorporated in the redesign is an expanded Student Zone—a visitor favourite for many years— where works by 30 student artists from OCAD U, Sheridan College and more will be showcased. 

“For more than five decades, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition has built a reputation as a place of art discovery, where fresh ideas and next generation artists converge,” said Anahita Azrahimi, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition’s Executive Director.  “The new layout of the exhibition site and the return of the popular Student Zone will further enhance and encourage the ‘joy of discovery’ inherent in the event.”
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition demonstrates its longstanding commitment to celebrating artistic excellence and creating opportunities for artists to advance their careers through its unique awards program.  Close to $30,000 in awards will be presented to artists at the 2017 Exhibition including the $5,500 Best of Exhibition Award by The Rudolf P. Bratty Family Foundation and the $5,500 Founding Chairman’s Award by Murray and Marvelle Koffler.  Winners will be announced on Friday, July 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm.

Free Admission

Friday, July 14, 2017 10 am – 8 pm
Saturday, July 15, 2017 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday, July 16, 2017 10 am – 6 pm

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