On Thursday, September 17th, a new public art display was unveiled at The Daniels Corporation's HighPark Condominiums, filling the plaza that faces the eponymous park with artisanal hors d'ouevres and expectant spectators. Then, as Daniels' Niall Haggart took to the podium to unveil the LED art that looks over the plaza, the crowd gathered, turning away from the park and toward the screen, waiting for the black curtain to come down.

Niall Haggart outline Daniels' devotion to public art, image by Craig White

"The opportunity to work with Toronto's arts community is near and dear to our hearts at Daniels," Haggart explained. Haggart stressed that supporting the arts is vital to The Daniels Corporation's mandate, and that it was a privilege to work with internationally renowned artists Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky of Public Studio, who—together with a group of OCAD U students—created We Are All Animals, a three-component art installation that negotiates the space between the Diamond Schmitt Architects-designed building and landscapes around it.

Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky introduce their project, image by Craig White

Yielding the podium to the artists, Sawatzky and Flanders thanked OCAD U and Daniels for their support, singling out the developer for their unwavering commitment to the arts. The artists also expressed gratitude to the OCAD students and faculty who supported them, and whose commitment and skills ultimately made the project possible.

The bronze bench, image by Craig White

With the showpiece LED screen still under cover, Sawatzky and Flanders pointed to the two other elements of We Are All Animals; a long bronze bench bearing the name of the installation (above), and trio of digitally modeled carved-stone coyotes. With the geometric shapes of rendering software made physically real, and at slightly larger than life size, the sculptures posses an uncanny allure.

The coyote sculptures, image by Craig White

Finally, Ward 13 Councilor Sarah Doucette expressed appreciation for public art in the city, outlining the importance of the 'One Percent for Public Art' program which mandates that amount of a project's development budget be devoted to public art. "It's a great program," Doucette explained," but I think it should be more than one percent of the budget!," the Councilor exclaimed, drawing enthusiastic applause from the audience. 

Ward 13's Sarah Doucette expresses her support of public art, image by Craig White

Following the speeches, the artists joined Haggart and Doucette in unveiling the installation's LED centerpiece, which portrays a 3D rendering of High Park scenery that perpetually exists three months in advance of our own time.

The curtain comes down, image by Craig White

On the warm evening of September 17th, the screen showed a wintery mid-December woodland scene. 

Niall Haggart takes in the art, image by Craig White

As time proceeds, you will always find the screen at Daniels HighPark one season ahead of you.

We will return with more comprehensive coverage of the thought-provoking art installation, including UrbanToronto's interview with the artists. In the meantime, additional information can be found in the dataBase file. Want to get involved in the dicussion? Check out the associated Forum thread or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

Related Companies:  Diamond Schmitt Architects, Isotherm Engineering Ltd., Land Art Design Landscape Architects Inc