Curator, NXNE Art Festival
In its 20th anniversary year, the NXNE festival sought to build and expand NXNE Art, a stream of art based attractions envisioned to grow and rival the magnetism of their infamous music program. The creation and production of a festival of Art + Urbanism was the result, designed to ignite positivity about our city in flux. Made up of interactive spaces, outdoor art interventions and murals, NXNE Art brought artists to Toronto from the North East. The line-up featured talent from Montreal, NYC, Detroit and Toronto in 7 days of stunts, programming and exhibition, many of which left a permanent positive legacy in the city.
In 2014, the sister festival to Austin’s infamous SXSW, NXNE brought 400,000 attendees, 800 bands, and more than $55 million in economic stimulus for the city. With lead sponsor Samsung and the production muscle of Hermann & Audrey, we invited over 50 celebrated artists from the North East (TO, MTL, NYC and Detroit) and beyond. Artists came together to challenge Toronto with interactive, digital, and graphic visions of an as-yet-to-be-imagined future for one of the continent’s fastest building cities.
NXNE Art was a 7-day festival taking place across multiple venues and engaging support from brand, community and artist partners. It was made up of 3 main offerings all aiming to connect the public to their city and to each other. Concepts helped us to think about and imagine our Future City:
• The NXNE Art Lounge powered by Samsung, a central space of inspiration made up of 8 installations both visual and interactive.
• Over 30 Urban Takeovers consisting of permanent murals and unanticipated spectacles.
• A series of events designed to further community engagement and spark discourse.
For one week the NXNE Art Lounge acted as a meeting point for local and international artists, designers and intellectuals to spark a conversation about 'Art and Urbanism' and the future we were designing for Toronto at this crucial point in its history. The feature installation entitled 'Toronto 2020' developed by Partisan Projects and Norm Li Design, created an immersive zone and 3D virtual model of the City of Toronto. It enabled visitors to soar through city streets using a not yet released Samsung Tab S as a game controller and changed in real-time according public polling concerning the city’s development.