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Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Manifesto celebrates Toronto’s arts

In Arts, Education on September 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Ryerson image arts graduate and creator of Manifesto, Che Kothari, kicks off the first event of the festival on Sept. 20 with a youth dialogue featuring Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean. Photo credit: Stephanie Maris.

In just four years, the Manifesto Festival has changed from a grassroots community event to a Yonge-Dundas Square affair.

Manifesto, which ends on Sunday, was created by image arts graduates Che Kothari and Ryan Paterson. For seven days beginning Sept. 20, the festival is filling the city with art exhibitions, musical performances, dance competitions and workshops.

For Kothari, Manifesto is a culmination of his love for both the culture of the city and his desire to create a platform for local artists. He learned quickly that if you call, young artists will answer.

“It’s almost like a Trojan horse that brings people together,” said Kothari.

“We’re stronger if we unify.”

Kothari moved to Toronto 15 years ago after his love for photography brought him to Ryerson.

“Ryerson put me in a room for four years with creative thinkers,” Kothari said.

“I’ve always continued to strive to create a space like that.”

Both men credit their time at Ryerson for providing them with a lot of the skills required to run an arts festival.

The event has managed to grow and succeed over the years without straying from its original goal of providing the city with a non-profit grassroots arts and music festival.

In the past, the festival took place at Nathan Phillips Square, but Paterson says he feels moving to Yonge-Dundas Square will bring greater visibility and increased attendance. Paterson said Manifesto is a community-focused event meant to reflect Toronto’s artistic diversity. He is eager to expand while staying true to the existing template of the event.

For Kothari and Paterson, the real proof of its success has come behind the scenes. Their volunteer team has grown to nearly 250 people. At city hall, what began with 40 attendees has grown to 650 people packing the council chambers.

While Kothari and Paterson are both excited for this year’s festival, they said their passion lies with bringing a voice to local artists.

“We’re excited to reach out and include more of the city and populate it with authentic urban and arts culture,” he said.

“We really make an effort to connect grassroots with a high production value.”

* Published on Sept. 21, 2010 in the Ryersonian

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Ryerson gallery gets name change

In Arts, Education on September 15, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Photo credit: Tina Kenny

Ryerson Gallery is hoping a new name will revamp the gallery’s image this year.

The name IMA Gallery was the winner of a contest held last year to rename the Spadina Avenue facility.

Fraser McCallum, a second-year image arts student, thought of the name after experiencing what he describes as a “eureka moment” last spring.

“IMA Gallery is a pun, since Ryerson abbreviates the image arts faculty as IMA, and saying the name aloud pronounced as a whole or each letter individually sounds like, ‘I’m a gallery,’ or, ‘I am a gallery,’” he said.

“I think people have taken to it because it’s dumb, funny and personal; it lacks the pretense of most gallery names which typically use street addresses, owner’s names, or ‘arty’ words.”

The gallery was forced to change its name as an on-site gallery is being built at the new school of image arts building. The image arts gallery will take over the old name.

IMA Gallery volunteer advisor Katie Newman says the change was ultimately viewed as a chance for the IMA Gallery to incorporate more multimedia in its exhibitions.

“Along with the new name there’s a new mandate, which is to open the gallery to film and new media students as much as possible,” said Newman.

“We’d like to see IMA Gallery become a real student space and a much bigger part of university life.”

The new name hadn’t quite sunk in among attendees and staff at the gallery during its opening on Sept. 9. Gallery director Katy McCormick said the name change was the first step in creating interest and enthusiasm for the reinvention of the space.

“We wanted to get students talking about it, thinking about it and dreaming about what they want this space to be,” she said, adding that the gallery will continue to be an incubator for student-initiated programming.

The gallery will be introducing three group shows this year featuring third-year students from each stream of the image arts program. Newman says that while the Third Year Photography Show has been an annual staple in the gallery’s programming, the gallery is hoping to spread the tradition to film and new media students.

The current exhibition features works by current and past image arts students, presenting a wide range of multimedia. Artists Andrew McGill, Bevan Sauks, Kyle Tait and Michael Raymond Clarke kicked off the start of the year with Afterimage, an exhibition about relationships and interactions between digital and analog artistic processes. For Sauks, the diversity of the exhibition represents the gallery’s approach to the artists and works it chooses to display.

“The IMA Gallery is such a wonderful space because of the diverse array of exhibits on offer and the opportunities for students, young artists and more established artists to all display work in the same space,” the recent image arts graduate said.

“Everyone is given equal consideration.”

* Published on September 14, 2010 in the Ryersonian