reSurface at the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West), Woolfitt's Art Supplies (1153 Queen West) and Base Gallery (48 Abell). June 4-5. 416-531-5042. Rating: NNNNN
When the city announced its recent aggressive anti-graffiti campaign, championed by anti-graffiti zealot Sergeant Heinz Kuck, gallery director Janna Van Hoof decided to do the only natural thing. She's throwing a party.
It makes sense. She's been an active champion of urban art, showcasing local graffiti and urban artists at Base Gallery since October 2003. She's also a founder of Style in Progress, a non-profit organization that promotes urban art, fashion, dance and music through community events and partnerships.
In what promises to be the largest event of its kind so far, Style in Progress teams up with the Drake Hotel for a weekend celebration of urban art, music and dance. From 11 am Saturday in the Drake's back alley (from the Pizza Pizza on Lisgar to the Price Chopper near Dufferin), about 40 urban muralists will work their skills in a massive beautification project.
Watch the artists work or cross the street to the Woolfitt's Art Supplies parking lot, where a massive urban art fair showcases work from the Base Gallery's Unison series. Check out nearby Base Gallery's current show, Found Objects, on to June 19, with work by Elicsir , Horus , Bare-in , Phresha and Bezerker . Local breakdancers and DJs will be out in force in the lot, the alleys and the Drake's patios. DJs Mindbender , Samuel Bonz , Fathom and others spin at the Drake's Underground Space from 9 pm Saturday.
On Sunday at 11 am at the Drake's Sky Yard, there'll be a pancake breakfast and roundtable discussion on urban art and graffiti with city councillors, police, artists and community activists.
All of this should help enlighten the public about the current propaganda campaign that seeks to equate urban and graffiti art with tagging and vandalism.