Alternative art fair features York flair

Building on Toronto’s cosmopolitan credentials and its reputation for staging some of the country’s foremost cultural events, a new celebration of the arts is being launched to nurture new and existing audiences. The fair, which began Sept. 30 and will continue until Oct. 4, is called Toronto Alternative Art Fair International (TAAFI). The fair is being held in the Queen West art district, which is home to both The Drake Hotel and the Gladstone Hotel, two of the city’s most historical inns.

Right: The Drake Hotel

Among the many sponsors of this first-ever fair is York University’s Graduate Program in Visual Arts, which is the only academic organization involved.

The ambitious program includes studio tours; exhibitions hosted by local, regional and international galleries; video screenings complemented by panel discussions; and live bands.

Professor Yvonne Singer, director of York’s Graduate Program in Visual Arts, will introduce one of the panels Oct. 3 at 2pm at The Drake Hotel. “Is there an avant garde?” will be the topic of discussion. Addressing this question will be some of Toronto’s leading arts figures, as well as esteemed international guests: Philip Monk, director, Art Gallery of York University; Diane Barber, visual arts director, DiverseWorks (Houston); Blake Gopnik, staff writer, The Washington Post; and Jonathan Watkins, director, IKON Gallery (UK). The moderator is Betty Ann Jordan, art journalist and Toronto Life gallery columnist.

Visit the TAAFI Web site for a full schedule of events.