Toronto’s Art Scene on Life Support


From Tracking Imagination, an interesting story coming out of the Toronto Star yesterday, “Culture Club,” about the slow death of artistic communities in that city. While specific to Toronto, it’s an interesting read to continue to see how these large cities, New York and San Francisco are mentioned repeatedly, have forced out what they were once largely known for. Here’s some:

In the Big Apple, the artsy scene long ago decamped from Soho to Tribeca, then to Chelsea, before finally leaving Manhattan altogether for Brooklyn and now, rumor has it, into Queens. Ditto San Francisco, where the dot-com economic boom eventually chased much of the city’s innate cultural scene out of the city core. Or, as Heather Haynes, a former San Francisco artist who is now the director of the not-for-profit Toronto Free Gallery, put it, “the city lost its soul.”

Monk agrees: “New York died 20 years ago. And this city is dying, too. What’s happening here seems to be exactly what the city wants — to the detriment of the art community.”

Which leaves Toronto at a crossroads. It can continue following that same trajectory, as condo developers move into once shabby-chic neighborhoods, or it can strike out on some new, as yet undefined path to nourish the full spectrum of the arts.