THE JUNCTION ARTS FESTIVAL (Dundas between Quebec and Keele), September 11 and 12, Saturday noon to 11 pm, Sunday noon to 6 pm. Free. Launch party tonight (Thursday, September 9), 8 pm, at Union Square Condominiums (417 Keele). $25. 416-767-5036, www.junctionartsfest.com. Rating: NNNNN
The Junction neighbourhood is often forgotten, but it's getting harder to overlook.
A century ago it was home to people who worked on the railroads that shaped the community. Today, reasonable rents and plenty of character could make it Toronto's next art hot spot, and the growing popularity of the annual Junction Arts Festival offers plenty of evidence of that trend.
Originally just a few pictures hung on the wall of a local frame shop, the two-day festival, now in its 12th year, boasts artists from as far away as Lithuania and Thailand.
This community event has always involved plenty of family-oriented fun, including several stages with live music, dance and other performances. For those who want something more real than reality television, the 10 finalists from Teen Talent Show compete Sunday afternoon. Think Canadian Idol, only without the scathing comments, contestants' embarrassment, national shame and that vacuous Mulroney kid.
Check out the new Urban Zone, too, put on by the Junction's Toronto Hiphop Cultural Arts Centre, which runs all weekend and features an appearance by the Dope Poet Society (Sunday, September 12, at 4:20 pm).
In visual arts, a juried art show has interesting work by more than 30 artists. A curated exhibition is new to the festival this year.
Highlights from the juried show include Laura Nanni 's site-specific installation of familiar looking chairs in odd places. Also keep an eye out for The Metropolitan Refreshment Auxiliary, where Zoe Stonyk and Margaret Saliba brew up a return to the lost art of traditional tea time and chatting with passersby. Many other artists are showing their paintings, sculptures and photographs.
The curated exhibition, Sorry For The Inconvenience, focuses on public intervention and performance. Under the umbrella of the community-based festival, the artists take advantage of the opportunity for public interaction to draw people of all ages into the creative process. While the event may not herald the death of elitism in art, it is at least a small 48-hour cold.
The interactive show features a handful of art luminaries from West Queen West, including the Westside Couture Club ( Will Munro and Jeremy Laing ), who stitch together a giant quilt from 12-inch squares of fabric submitted by other local and international artists.
Meanwhile, Paige Gratland and Day Milman carry around "beautiful burdens" on the strip, offering bystanders the chance to help with the load.
Kate Terry presents complete art-making kits, while Maria Legault demonstrates how to fill a variety of holes with pink pudding. The City Beautification Project ( Jason van Horne and Duncan Walker ) and Lucia de L'Amour also participate. For a complete description of the event, pick up a copy of Ken Ogawa 's catalogue, a work of art in itself.