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Canada’s leading contemporary outdoor and online art fair

Nathan Phillips Square July 7-9

Professional Development Sessions

Toronto Outdoor Art Fair is pleased to host a series of professional development sessions this Fall and Winter, to support developing art entrepreneurship and business skills for independent artists. Learn more about the Art Encounters Program.


Previous Sessions

Grant Strategies for Visual Artists

Visual artists in Canada have access to grants at all three levels of government that range in size and may cover artist fees, materials and production costs. We were pleased to welcome two experts – Zhe Gu, Visual Arts Officer, Ontario Arts Council; and, Peter Kingstone, Visual & Media Arts Program Manager, Toronto Arts Council – to share information about what grants are available to visual artists, and to offer tips that may help prepare an application.

The program will be moderated by Jenn Goodwin, Program Lead, ArtworxTO Hubs, City of Toronto, who is also an artist, curator, and artistic producer who has received support from the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council.

Marketing & Promotion by Visual Artists

At a well-attended art fair (like the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair!), potential buyers may shift rapidly from gaining awareness of an artist’s work to making a purchase. But what about the rest of the year? A steady drip of marketing and promotion via multiple channels – websites, e-newsletters, social media, advertising, word-of-mouth, and more – can build awareness, establish relationships with first-time buyers, or deepen relationships with dedicated collectors.

During this Art Encounters program, organized by TOAF and sponsored by TD, hear from two artists, at different stages of their careers, about methods of marketing and promotion: Jason Baerg, Toronto-based international Cree Métis interdisciplinary artist and is the Assistant Professor in Indigenous Practices in Contemporary Painting and Media Art at OCAD University, and Keight MacLean, an annual favourite at TOAF who has attracted 11.7K followers on Instagram!

The program will be moderated by Rebecca Carbin, Principal of Art + Public UnLtd.

Accessing the Collectors’ Circle

Anyone who has ever worked in sales knows that what makes actual sales happen are relationships. This is true in the art world, too. Art fairs, opening receptions, open studios, and other art events are the perfect setting to cultivate established connections and make new ones. Every sale to every collector is significant, as that collector recognizes the value of your art, they will display your art, they are likely to share your art with others who visit their homes or by posting on social media… and that can ignite broader interest.

This program features an artist and a collector, so the audience can hear two complementary perspectives. Maria Hupfield – internationally acclaimed artist, half of the art collective Native Art Department International, and Assistant Professor of Indigenous Digital Arts and Performance and a Canadian Research Chair in Transdisciplinary Indigenous Arts at University of Toronto – speaks from experience exhibiting her artworks with commercial galleries and non-profit galleries/museums. Jacques Bernier, a partner with law firm Baker & McKenzie LLP, is passionate about contemporary visual art, with a history of supporting Toronto’s premier non-profit contemporary art gallery and a growing personal collection.

The program will be introduced by Josh Heuman, independent fine art and wine consultant, with decades of experience working with both artists and collectors.

Securing Gallery Representation

Emerging, mid-career and established artists grapple with the question of how (and whether) to seek and secure gallery representation. While there are many ‘pros’ to consider, there are also some ‘cons’. This session will provide artists at any stage in their career with two different, but complementary perspectives about how to get noticed by gallerists, what to do and not to do, what to have in your portfolio, and how to negotiate ethically. Our two speakers are Jennifer Simaitis, currently Director of Patel Brown Gallery Toronto and artist Alex McLeod. The program will be introduced and moderated by Josh Heuman, independent fine art and wine consultant, with decades of experience working with artists and gallerists.

Acquisitions & Commissions

For artists, having work acquired at an art fair (including the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair!) is a big achievement. But artists may strive for additional goals, especially acquisitions or commissions for private collectors, corporate collections, or nonprofit collecting institutions facilitated by art advisors and public art consultants.

Each of the two Toronto-based speakers in this program approach acquisitions and commission from different angles. Danna Heitner is a Toronto-based art advisor with over 20 years experience in the international art market. She will address working with private individuals and corporate clients, architects and interior designers, to acquire and/or commission artworks for installation. Ben Mills is Vice-President + Producer with Public Art Management, and has overseen well over 50 large-scale public art projects. He will discuss the steps and stages involved in proposing, creating and installing public art for private sector developments.

The program will be introduced and moderated by Josh Heuman, independent fine art and wine consultant, with decades of experience working with both artists and collectors.


Thank You

Toronto Outdoor Art Fair would like to thank TD Bank Group,  Ontario Arts Council, our individual donors and The Lindy Green Family Foundation – The Lead Supporter of Art Encounters program. 


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