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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Phase 1C art submissions draw major interest from local artists

TORONTO, November 24, 2016 - Art is an important part of CAMH’s ongoing Queen Street Redevelopment Project. In the buildings constructed during Phase 1B, a centerpiece artwork sets the tone for many of the visual aspects throughout, helping to create an interconnected and welcoming environment for patients and staff.

Mosaic assembly
An artist helps assemble a colourful mosaic; the centerpiece of the Intergenerational Wellness Building.

For Phase 1C, CAMH has stepped up its commitment to the healing power of art with the Therapeutic Art Installations Initiative, which will resource art installations ranging from video, light, sound, glass frit, stone, painting, sculpture, reclaimed wood and more to be integrated into the new buildings and the surrounding areas.

With ground set to break on the next phase of redevelopment (Phase 1C) in 2017, the CAMH Art Selection Panel (CASP) put a call out to local artists for letters of interest. There will be 10 architecturally-integrated, public-facing pieces selected, along with 25 stand-alone pieces for corridors and waiting areas.

An outpouring of love for CAMH

September 29 was the official deadline for artists to submit letters of interest and the response was overwhelmingly positive. “It was quite simply an outpouring of love for CAMH,” explains Susan Roman, Project Manager, Site Redevelopment and CASP Member. “It’s selfless interest on the part of the artists who really want to be a part of something special.”

Susan Roman
Susan Roman

Working with CAMH’s Art Selection Panel is Karen Mills, a full-time art advisor who has worked on large-scale public art projects, including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

“It is a tremendous response in so many ways, really speaking to the place CAMH holds in the hearts of Toronto community members,” says Karen.

Karen Mills
Karen visits CAMH’s Queen Street site, the future home of the newest buildings and their artwork.

With over 300 responses to CAMH’s call for art, Karen says the quality of submissions equals or exceeds the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Legacy Program.

“There is a broad range of diversity amongst proponents and an exceptionally strong group of candidates from Southern Ontario and Toronto in particular,” she adds. “There was a level of passion behind so many of the applications. It made me remember that this project touches on intense personal experiences, really making this about art and not design embellishments.”

Next steps

Now that letters of interest have been submitted, the CAMH Art Selection Panel has the difficult task of honing in on a select few.

“The first priority short listing artists for the 10 architecturally-integrated pieces by the end of November, as they will need to work alongside contractors as the new buildings are constructed,” Susan explains.

“We can’t thank the artists enough for all of their submissions. Keeping in mind that the primary objective of this project is in it's therapeutic value for patients, it is also about opening up a once stigmatized place to people who might not be familiar with CAMH and our work; about being a good neighbour, engaging with and contributing to the vibrancy of this highly arts focused community.”

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