Last weekend I visited the Queen Street East Art Crawl (Toronto). While there are a number of events and galleries involved, local artists set up under tents in Trinity Bellwoods Park and display their creative work for thousands of viewers. It’s my chance to see what is new and interesting at a grass-roots level and to view other interpretations. There were a wide range of photographers, artists and crafts and this year, I saw a lot more fusion between art and photography than I have in the past.
My in-laws join us each year (they are both artists, as is my wife) and after a delicious brunch at Mildred’s in Liberty Village (still can’t figure out how they get the pancakes so fluffy), we headed to the park. There were easily 200 artists of all kinds. What I find is how easily and enthusiastically they talk about their work and style. I enjoyed a conversation with a photographer showing stunning pictures from his trips to Patagonia and Italy. He had a similar photograph that I had taken of the graffiti in Verona leading to Juliet’s balcony (if you believe it, that is).
In addition to art there were musicians and a wide range of food options. There was even a road-side truck selling cupcakes, a first for me. After a couple of hours, we wandered a little further down Queen Street to see the artist booths at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) where past and present recipients of their services displayed some very interesting work. The cellist to the right was playing at CAMH as we entered the premises just a block away from the park. The artists were very engaging and shared their enthusiasm for the work they had produced. It was really inspirational.
CAMH also has a vegetable garden and had a table selling some of the produce grown there. We met the man behind the garden and he explained how much he enjoyed tending the garden and the pride he had in the produce. We bought some odd looking vegetables that apparently taste like fruit (citrus) but I haven’t gotten the nerve to try them yet (see photo below).
I also like the opportunity to observe people at events like this. There was a setup for tight rope walking hidden behind the tents and four teenagers were practicing about three feet above the grass – good fun to watch and photograph. Lots of people milling around the park without any need to be anywhere soon. Very relaxing.
I would encourage you to visit art galleries and shows such as this one as it gives a chance to not only explore different viewpoints, but to have a casual conversation with the artist to share your passion for creativity and expression.