215 Spadina Avenue
Centre for Social Innovation, Suite 414
No. 9: Contemporary Art and the Environment and The Art Gallery of Ontario are partnering with the Toronto District School Board’s Model Schools for Inner Cities, the Toronto Public Library, and the WWF-Canada to bring contemporary art and environmental education to 10,000 inner city elementary students across the GTA.
In collaboration with internationally-recognized Canadian artist IAIN BAXTER&, the IAIN BAXTER& ECOARTVAN hits the streets of Toronto from April 1 through May 31, and will visit 25 of the TDSB’s Model Schools for Inner Cities and eight local libraries.
No.9’s mission is to introduce a new generation to the power of contemporary art and its ability to stimulate awareness and positive social and environmental change. The IAIN BAXTER& ECOARTVAN is a glassed-in cube van running on biodiesel fuel, which will display a new, No.9-commissioned installation by BAXTER&, who will transform the cube van into a travelling museum featuring artwork inspired by the his long-standing interest in the environment.
The IAIN BAXTER& ECOARTVAN will park in each school’s yard for one or two days, and will be accompanied by No. 9 educators. No.9’s educators will lead hands-on workshops with Grade Four students using a special education package designed in collaboration with BAXTER& and focused around the artist’s concern for animals and their habitats.
WWF-Canada has generously contributed 2500 Adoption Kits, so that each Grade Four student who attends the workshops will receive a kit focused on an animal whose habitat is endangered. These kits enable tactile learning and ensure that the students have an opportunity to continue their engagement in environmental issues once the project concludes.
In addition to the in-school activities provided by No. 9, the AGO and the TDSB have partnered to offer each participating Grade Four class – over 2200 students – a free field trip to the Gallery, where they will participate in a special gallery program called “Going Green: Art & the Environment.
On June 9, the students and their families will be invited to attend a free evening celebration at the AGO with IAIN BAXTER&. The students’ work will be displayed, and they will have the opportunity to meet with the artist and share their responses to the project.
“It is inspiring to see so many organizations come together for this very important cause,” says No. 9 Executive Director Andrew Davies, the project’s initiator. “An entire community will now have the opportunity for a direct encounter with art in a meaningful way, not only in the walls of a gallery, but on their sidewalks and in their schoolyards.”
On weekends, when schools are closed, IAIN BAXTER& ECOARTVAN will visit local branches of the Toronto Public Library, giving countless others an opportunity to view the work and learn more about art and the environment.
No. 9: Contemporary Art and the Environment received a $75,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) in November 2009 to help with the program. A leading grantmaker in Canada, OTF strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.
The van will be in each location from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (with the exception of S. Walter Stewart Library noted below).
For decades Iain Baxter&ʼ art works have explored the relationship between humanity and nature.
His initial studies in zoology and biology provided him with a keen understanding of our natural world,
leading to the creation of many celebrated works, including 1999ʼs Animal Preserve No. 2, 1996ʼs
Technological Compost, and 2008ʼs Zero Emissions. As one of the worldʼs first conceptual artists,
Baxter&ʼs influence has been internationally recognized. He is a Governor Generalʼs Award winner
and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
No. 9's Art and Ecology Education Guide for the ECOARTVAN is available for download.
• DOWNLOAD PDF RESOURCE GUIDE •