Jeff Melanson – Glad to See Success at this Year’s Art Toronto fair

Here’s a tip of the hat to Art Toronto for its 17th international art fair, which wrapped up its successful five-day event October 31 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

More than 22,000 visitors took in this latest edition of Art Toronto, Canada’s international fair for modern and contemporary art.

Yes, that’s a record turnout and signals a bright future of growth in attendance and prestige for Canada’s oldest and biggest art fair.

The opening night preview, October 27 th , was a triumph and raised over $500,000.00 in support of acquisitions and AGO programs.

As noted on its website,, the AGO purchased nine works by seven Canadian artists this year, including Nadia Belerique, Sara Cwynar, Jessica Eaton, Kara Hamilton, Zachari Logan, Annie Pootoogook and Janet Werner.

Art Toronto has posted a summary of this year’s event on its website featuring a quote by Stephan Jost, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO.

“I experienced Art Toronto for the first time this year and was massively impressed by the range and quality of works,” said Jost, “I’m thrilled that the AGO acquired nine new works by seven contemporary artists to enhance our collection, particularly exciting is six of these artists are women, which
strengthens our focus on increasing representation in our collection. Art Toronto is a key way for museum donors to purchase excellent works from around the world.”

As a former advisor to the Mayor of Toronto on Arts & Culture, it’s particularly gratifying to see the event explore new formats that connect it to the city.

Those who have heard me speak know I’m passionate about community participation in the arts as forming a vital part of our cultural growth.

I’ve also stressed inclusivity and openness so that everyone can share in a kind

of community celebration of the arts.

With that in mind, I applaud Arts Toronto’s expansion this year with its biggest, most inviting roster yet featuring 124 exhibitors, about a dozen more than 2015. Notable too was inclusion of the Edition Toronto art book fair on the ground floor of the convention centre, to which entry was free to the public. What better way to celebrate the growth and cultural vibrancy of Toronto’s Hispanic community than by continuing to focus on Latin America and to highlight a number of galleries and artists from Central and South America?

In its post-event victory lap, Art Toronto noted that highlights included Part two of FOCUS: Latin America curated by Isabela Villanueva, The PLATFORM Speaker Series, POWER TALKS presented by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, the Curator Series Art Tours, SOLO Salon Talks, and Canadian Art Editor Tours.

A full list of who sold what is available on Art Toronto site, but the strength of sales was evident throughout the fair as galleries were spotted rehanging their booths after the Opening Night Preview.

Lawren Harris’s A Fantasy from Mayberry Fine Art sold for $1.2 million during opening night representing one of the biggest sales of the event.

All and all, a smashing success; I congratulate Arts Toronto for a job well done.