Artworx Toronto: Year of Public Art 2021-2022

Feature image credit: Photo illustration of Elicser Elliot by Mike Simpson via Artworx TO site

Article by Mike Simpson, founder

Public art is a big part of Toronto and Artworx Toronto, which launched in Fall of 2021, is a great event. Many of the exhibits are outdoors and accessible, located centrally, and there’s plenty of variety. The city website has a great map to help you plan your art field trip.

You can venture out to explore free self-guided public art walking tours. If you want, connect with us and one of our local guides will show you some of the premier public art exhibits in a Tdot neighbourhood walking tour.

Let’s look at some of the featured artists and check out the venues and dates. We will focus on one artist that is promoted by Artworx – Toronto graffiti artist and muralist Elicser Elliot.

But first, here’s what the city has to say about the festival: “ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022 is a year-long celebration of Toronto’s exceptional public art collection and the creative community behind it. This exciting new initiative supports artists and art projects that reflect Toronto’s diversity and creates more opportunities for the public to engage with art in their everyday lives.”

Event: Artworx Toronto

Dates: 2021-2022


Artworx during COVID

There is no escaping the fact that you have to keep in mind restrictions and public health guidelines, particularly if you intend to check out the art as a group. Of course these artworks can be viewed by anyone at any time by checking out the map and saving your favourites.

It is clear from the City of Toronto’s Culture page on Instagram @culture_to that the “Show LoveT O” campaign to support local business is the primary focus. Very understandable considering the impact the pandemic has had on many small local businesses.

If you are checking out the art, be sure to buy lunch or a snack from a local independent cafe or restaurant!

Tips and Recommendations

We think that the best way to see the art is to tackle a central neighbourhood and create a list of 5-6 pieces you want to see that are within a few square kilometers. You cn look at zones east of or west of Yonge St. and south of Bloor St, for maximum convenience.

OIf all the kinds o art available we would seek out:

  • Photography
  • Mural / painting
  • Sculpture
  • Architecture / landscape

Our guides can lead you on a tour to the best photo and public art locations in Toronto. We know our way around the classics all around the core, including Graffiti Alley near Queen St West, public art in the financial district and sculpture and architecture south o Bloor at the University of Toronto campus.

Our best tip, and one we can assist with, is to focus on the urban art aka the graffiti, murals and street art that are part of the StreetARToronto (StART) program.

Interested? Let us know.

Artist Feature Elicser Elliot

Elicser Elliot is an amazing graffiti artist. I’ve been following Elicser’s art for years, and gee it’s pretty hard to miss if you keep your eyes open. Elicser is one of the most prolific and long-exhibited artists in the streets and back alleys of this fair city.

the prodigal son comes home
Elicser Elliot art in Toronto by photographer Mary Crandall

YouTube Video

Elicser is featured as an artist in Toronto’s Artworx event.

The art is slightly abstract, filled with huge characters, many cherubic, all coloured as in multi-ethnic, and themes of optimism shine through.

City of Toronto Culture explains: “As a constant fixture in Queen West neighbourhoods since the 1990s, Elicser’s artwork articulates the community’s soul, creates points of connection, and is a core driver of dynamic exchanges flowing from his work. The new mural is a collage of soft characters and organic shapes, emphasizing those who build the true warmth in any community, those who create that love story and heart in any city: its people.”

Here’s the YouTube video:

“One of my ongoing themes is that the people are giants of the city”

-Elicser Elliot

Art by Elicser on Instagram

Visiting Toronto and checking out the art

The City of Toronto website for Artworx covers all the bases for discovering and locating he art. Check it out:

Artwork Toronto website

Book a Walking Tour with Tdot

We are happy to show you around the city. We have a rate for groups up to 4 and a large group rate that covers 5-12 people. Hit us up and we’ll do a fabulous city public art walk.

Group walk photo from summer 2021, in Graffiti Alley. Our “photo walks” cover the best and most iconic spots in the city.

Join us or book your own walking tour. Walks are hosted by Tdot’s Mike Simpson.

Downtown Toronto Mural: “Equilibrium” by Okuda San Miguel

Wrapping Up

ArtworkTO is a great idea for promoting local artists and creators and we look forward to seeing many of the artworks during 2021-2022.

Be sure to get in touch if you are interested in a tour or want to ask a question. Enjoy the art and stay safe 🙏