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The Toronto biennial forum, organized by The Power Plant and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, galvanizes the visual arts community

TORONTO, ON (April 26, 2010) – An extraordinary 270 people turned out for the overwhelmingly successful public forum From the Ground Up: A biennial platform for international contemporary art in Toronto last Saturday, April 17, 2010. Representatives of all major visual arts organizations and galleries in the city gathered for passionate discussion and demonstrated overwhelming interest in the idea of a contemporary art biennial or triennial in Toronto.

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art brought Toronto’s contemporary arts community to the table for a day of interactive panel discussions. Many applauded the inclusiveness and underlying spirit of collaboration that characterized the event and mentioned that this was the first time in decades that so many leaders in the visual arts community had met together in person.

The organizers’ vision for the day was brought to life, as much energized and thoughtful debate ensued. Clearly, this was a timely and resonant topic. As expected, some respondents questioned the need for such an event; however, the vast majority discussed what the critical factors would be for staging a biennial in Toronto and the risks that would need to be managed. A dominant view to emerge was the need for such an event to reflect the artistic identity of Toronto in a way that distinguished a Toronto biennial on the world stage.

The Power Plant and MOCCA will lead the next steps and the strategy moving forward with the same spirit of inclusiveness and collaboration that resonated throughout the forum. Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke and Artistic Director and Curator of MOCCA David Liss, along with Peggy Gale, critic and curator and a moderator for the forum, will continue to consult with a wide range of interested parties and have already begun work on the production of a report. The happenings of the day will be documented in this report and will be released by the end of May. The report will summarize the discussion, make recommendations and outline next steps, including any announcement on future meetings.

Speakers and respondents at the symposium included: Gregory Burke, Director, The Power Plant; David Liss, Artistic Director and Curator of MOCCA; Jessica Bradley, Owner, Jessica Bradley Art Projects; Barbara Fischer, Executive Director/Chief Curator, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto; Philip Monk, Director/Curator, Art Gallery at York University; Lisa Steele, artist, co-founder of the media arts centre Vtape, and Professor and Associate Chair of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto; Gerald McMaster, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Ontario; Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher, Founders of DisplayCult curatorial collaborative and Associate Professors, Ontario College of Art & Design and York University respectively; Heather Haynes, Founder and Executive Director, Toronto Free Gallery; Haema
Sivanesen, Executive Director, SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre); Janice Price, President and CEO, Luminato; Fern Bayer, an independent researcher/curator who has also been previously active in international cultural promotion projects; Matthew Teitelbaum, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO, Art Gallery of Ontario; Sara Diamond, President, Ontario College of Art & Design; Ann Webb, Executive Director, Canadian Art Foundation; Richard Rhodes, Editor, Canadian Art; Gail Dexter Lord, Co-President of Lord Cultural Resources; Dr. Paul Marks, collector and physician for the Toronto Raptors; Demetra Christakos, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Art Galleries; Richard Fung, video artist and Associate Professor, Ontario College of Art and Design; Marc Glassman, publisher and formerly owner of Page’s Book; Dyan Marie, artist; Monica Tap, artist and Associate Professor at the University of Guelph; Adrian Blackwell, artist, urban theorist and Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture, University of Toronto; Laurel MacMillan, Programming Co-Director, Toronto International Film Festival, Corrado Paina, Executive Director, Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario; and Julian Smith, Programming Manager, Special Events, City of Toronto.

For more information on exhibitions and all public programs at The Power Plant, call 416-973-4949 or visit

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre
231 Queens Quay West, Toronto

FREE Members
$6 Adults
$3 Students / Seniors
FREE Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m.

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 12-6 p.m.
Wednesday 12-8 p.m.
Open Holiday Mondays

For more information on the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, please visit

For additional information and complete Harbourfront Centre event listings, the public may visit or call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000.

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, all within a collection of distinctive venues on a 10-acre site in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront.


Power Plant: Robin Boyko | 416-973-4927 |
MOCCA: Fayiaz Chunara | 416-395-7490 |

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