Concord CityPlace is one of those places we have been talking about for, well, it seems like forever! There's no bigger project in Toronto of course, and we will be talking about it for some time to come as it's not done yet… but there does seem to have been a change lately.
If you have visited CityPlace in the last month or so, it feels as if a critical mass has been reached. More buildings are occupying, the sidewalks are busier, a weekly farmers' market is buzzing, a huge patio is under construction for a new restaurant… and if you are a fan of public art and what it can do for its environs, a new work feels like it just may have become the lynchpin for the whole neighbourhood. Approaching Red has more than approached; it and its surroundings feel like they have arrived.
We've covered this work a couple of times already on UrbanToronto. This bold, sensuous double-slash of colour was making an impression even as it was rolled out the doors of the workshop where it was created, and we celebrated the day it was lifted into place as well. Now, Approaching Red is firmly ensconced in the promenade between Parade East and Parade West, inviting every passerby to engage with it, nestling in its bay or sluicing through its curving channel.
Approaching Red was officially welcomed to Concord CityPlace as its creator, Iraqi-born artist Maha Mustafa was feted on a rainy day earlier this month. Filmmaker Sarah Keenlyside was there to capture the culmination of a process that she and cameraman Devin Lund had been following for months. Their short video, which will take you through the process of creating the work, and which will introduce you to the charming Maha better than I ever could, is essential viewing:
Mustafa's work is a great tease for this city. Its vibrancy is quite the antidote in an urban landscape that can be too gray, and its neighbouring artworks underscore that fact: Francisco Gazitua's yellow Puente de Luz, Mark di Suvero's orange Flower Power, and Douglas Coupland's multicoloured Bobbers all serve as chromatic exclamation marks on streetscapes that often belie the true vitality of life in Toronto. A minute's walk in any direction from Approaching Red brings one into contact with these neighbouring pieces.
Having toured the block, a return to Approaching Red begs the photographer to snap away again.
…and one should not forget to look up here either. (That's Parade's bridge up there of course, a location we hope to bring you up and into very soon!) Wherever you look, Approaching Red surprises with a reflection of the city through crimson coloured glasses while it invites you to explore its infinite angles.
Concord Adex's art program at CityPlace has resulted in the largest collection of public artworks in the country now, and my short list of four works in this story highlights only a quarter of what can be seen in these few blocks. The developer knows full well that they have an exceptional collection here, and they are eager for more people to discover it. To that end they have a website, Concord Art Space, which presents all of the pieces now installed across Concord CityPlace and Concord Park Place in North York. Its website will even give you a hint of more works underway for the next buildings here, but best of all, it provides a map which you can print out to take along on an exploratory walk through the neighbourhood, pinpointing the works along the way.
Next time you're looking for an interesting place for a stroll, surprise yourself, approach red, and check out the rather wonderful art at CityPlace.