Inaugural ArtworxTO Legacy Artist, City of Toronto

Happy to share this news!

The City of Toronto is pleased to announce that Maria Hupfield is the successful candidate for the Inaugural ArtworxTO Legacy Artist in Residence (AiR) Program.

For her residency, Maria will be working with the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Urban Forestry branch bringing her creative force to bear in exploring and highlighting perception of and pressures on Toronto’s ravines.

This residency will result in a public facing project whose form will be defined through the residency process and will be an opportunity to expand and build on Hupfield’s current work with the Don Valley River, and the Credit Valley at the University of Mississauga where she teaches, work that is grounded in conversations on and with water. The artist will be embedded within the Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) division, working alongside staff, studying their work, how it relates to the public and to her own artistic practice which centers lived experience and embodied knowledge. Activities will include meeting with and attending regular scheduled outings with the PFR team, ongoing onsite conversations and walks with local mentors, advisors, artists, Knowledge Keepers and experts.

In October 2021, three City divisions were shortlisted, and an Open Call to Artists for Expressions of Interest was circulated. There was a tremendous response, with the program receiving 66 artist submissions across the 3 City sections. Artists were asked to submit artist statements (and qualifications) specific to one of the departments. Artists were allowed to submit to more than one department. The AiR Selection panel selected an artist and host department matched by the most compelling alignment of artistic concern and departmental interest.

Toronto, often called a “City within a Park,” is home to one of the largest urban ravine systems in the world, extending over 300 km and covering 17 percent of Toronto’s land area. Toronto’s ravines are rich in biodiversity, providing vital habitat for wildlife and ecosystem services, and intersect with a diverse array of cultures and communities who use and perceive ravines in equally diverse ways. Climate change and the effects of urbanization, such as increased use of these areas, are significantly impacting our natural systems. Through this project, in support of Toronto’s Ravine Strategy, PFR hopes to showcase the benefits of our ravines, the impacts we have on our ravines, and the ongoing commitment of staff, volunteers, partners and residents to preserving and improving this invaluable resource. Hupfield’s work within the City division will help develop creative approaches to sustainably celebrate these spaces and encourage recognition and respect for nature throughout Toronto.

The ArtworxTO Legacy Artist in Residence program has the goal of bringing visibility to the arts as a significant civic process; creating lasting impact on departmental practices, improved relations between civil servants and citizens, increased visibility for marginalized populations and a meaningful integration of art into the everyday business of city building.

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