Monday, August 11, 2014

About Face Everywhere Gardens Project on the SKETCH Blog

The (RE)Cycle Tree at Evergreen Brickworks - one of four locations of the Everywhere Gardens installations
Eek! We've clearly neglected our blog for quite some time. Thankfully, our lovely friends and collaborators at SKETCH have a post up about the project we've been working on over this and last Summer — the Everywhere Gardens. 

Check it out here and stay posted with (much more frequent!) news, photos and event announcements by following us on our Facebook and Twitter. We'll have more photos of this project as the pieces are finalized, and a launch event coming up this Fall!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Art (Tonight!) And A Big Month of Announcements

A sneak preview of Junk Food our installation at Gladstone Grow Op / sample of Everywhere Gardens project

Spring is finally here! Nature is coming out of hibernation, and we at the AFC are crawling out of our grant-writing dungeons and into the sunshine. It's been a VERY busy month and we have so much to catch you up on. Here's an update on what's happening with the collective, and what's to come: 

OTF Announces Funding for our Pilot Project!
We are proud to announce that the Ontario Trillium Foundation has granted us funding to support our satellite project the Everywhere Gardens. The Everywhere Gardens is a pilot project based on concepts developed for the Everything Roof, but to take place at several major urban agriculture sites across Toronto.

In collaboration with artists from SKETCH Working Arts, we'll be using salvaged and recycled materials to showcase the artistic possibilities that exist within garden spaces, to spark conversation about creative approaches to food growing and sustainability in our city, and growing fresh organic produce for and with Toronto's communities. These functional sculptures will also be used as educational tools for learning about vertical and organic gardening. We'll be posting a lot more information on this project over the next month, and you can see an example of one of these creations tonight at the Gladstone hotel; read on, friend!

Tonight | Gladstone Grow Op

The AFC is very excited to be participating in the inaugural year of Gladstone Grow Op, a "four-day event to celebrate innovative ideas and conceptual responses to landscape and place across a broad range of creative practices. Grow Op 2013 will facilitate a cross-disciplinary forum for landscape, garden design, art and place making within the vibrant setting of Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood".  

Our installation, Junk Food, is a collaboration between illustrator, artist and About Face art director, Lauren Pirie, multi-disciplinary artist and designer, Mahmood Popal, and About Face garden coordinator, Natalie Boustead. The piece is inspired by themes of urban food production, food security, sustainable design and Toronto heritage and identity. The "urban foodscape" was built using salvaged wood and home-made milk paint, and houses a variety of Toronto-grown heirloom vegetables and herbs. The exhibit opens tonight, with a reception from 6 - 11pm, and runs through Sunday April 28th.
Mahmood Popal, putting it all together

The team surveying progress

Late night drawing at HUNTCLUB photos by Darlene Huynh

Thanks for EVERYTHING! To all of our Amazing Supporters:
It has been a year since our Indiegogo campaign hit its goal, thanks to you, our incredibly supportive community of friends, family and believers in art; sustainability; good, local, accessible, nutritious food and the Everything Roof. Your support has allowed us to bring on the right people to help coordinate funding (the amazing Shawna Caspi), to draw up proper landscape and architectural designs (the amazing Phillip Collins), to plan exciting creative projects and fundraising events (the amazing Rodrigo Marti, Mahmood Popal and the whole amazing crew at SKETCH) and to get through another year of planning and grant-writing. It has now helped to launch our pilot project, the Everywhere Gardens!
While the Everything Roof may still be waiting for the moment, five stories high in the future, we are getting closer to it every day. But we didn't wait to wait to acknowledge our wonderful supporters, so we've made plans with Centre for Social Innovation to design and install dedicated planter sculptures on the soon-to-launch CSI Annex courtyard patio! This installation has been designed to honor our gold level supporters and our community of contributors. Supporters and team members are also acknowledged on the team page of the first stage of our new website, check it out here. And keep watching our blog and newsletter for more news on when you can come join us for an iced-tea amid produce-growing, artist-designed, planters and moss murals. It might be on ground level for now, but it's going to be awesome, and a great foresight of what's to come. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Junk Food | About Face Installation at Gladstone Grow Op

First rendering of Junk Food: An Urban Foodscape

 In an email exchange last week, one of our project partners appropriately opened with the sentiment that she'd "usually say something about the awesome spring weather and the beginning of garden prep" but that she would refrain, sad face. On that cold, windy, grey day, we felt a little sad face-y too. Looking out the window, it was hard to imagine containers overflowing with ripe veggies any time soon.

We've got our happy faces on with this sunshine today, but we've actually been prepping to plant for weeks (well, for months really, but seedlings are in at the greenhouse!). We've got all sorts of exciting plans for this season to tell you about soon enough (one big exciting one in particular!) but let's start with the first: Gladstone Grow Op.

We're really, very excited to be working with the Gladstone on an installation piece for their inaugural four-day show, Grow Op: Exploring landscape and place. If you've ever been to the Gladstone's amazing, annual Come Up to My Room event, you'll have a rough idea of what to expect. Grow Op follows a similar format, inviting artists and designers to realize their visions within the walls of the historic hotel. The show "will facilitate a cross-disciplinary forum for landscape, garden design, art and place making within the vibrant setting of Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood".

The Gladstone's contribution to local art and their commitment to sustainability made fans of us long ago. Now that we've had a few planning sessions with the Grow Op crew, we're even more smitten.

Our installation, Junk Food is a collaboration between illustrator, artist and About Face art director, Lauren Pirie, multi-disciplinary artist and designer, Mahmood Popal, our own garden coordinator, Natalie Boustead, and SKETCH. It touches on themes of urban food production, food security, sustainable design and Toronto heritage and identity. The "urban foodscape"  is being built using salvaged materials, and home-made milk paint and will grow crops like lettuce and peas.

Watch our blog and the Gladstone Bag for more progress shots and join us from April 25 - 28 at the Grow Op!
Natalie and Mahmood disassembling salvaged materials at HUNTCLUB Studio

Translating the design digitally

Natalie whipping up some milk paint

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy Women's Day! Everyone Should Be This Lucky

We shared this video from Miss Representation last year on International Women's Day and we think it's worthy of showing again... and again and again. Notwithstanding all the achievements and progresses we have made — we're much closer to parity in education and workforce — there is still a major disparity in the number of women we see in leadership roles. Because of this, we here at About Face are especially thankful for our situation.

Cause and Effect: How the Media You Consume Can Change Your Life from Miss Representation on Vimeo.

Though the numbers in the Non-profit sector are slightly more favorable (sadly, we're calling 21% more favorable [based on US stats]) there's still a long, long way to go to achieve equal representation. So, we'd like to take a moment to call out and thank our mentors at SKETCH and Centre For Social Innovation, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of whom happen to be women. How 'bout them stats?

Tonya Surman, CEO and Karine Jaouich, Director of Operations at CSI; and Phyllis Novack, Artistic Director and Founder, Rudy Ruttiman, Executive Director and Rose Gutierrez, Program Director at SKETCH, and a shout-out to Jessica Hazen, former Director of Stakeholder Engagements at CSI: you are awesome. Thank you for believing in and supporting us, for being amazing role models and all-round powerhouses, and for doing good and important things. We only wish that our situation were more common. The positive impact of seeing more women in leadership ripples out in so many ways. Check this report by FEMinc and Take The Lead.

We'd also like to thank every other incredible, talented and hard-working woman and girl who has supported us over the years, but we'll call out a couple of particularly influential ones: our strong and loving moms. One last, important thank-you: to all the men who support women. We sure have a lot of great ones in our lives. They know that empowering women makes life better for us all.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

MONARCHIE | New Works by Virgil Baruchel Opening Tomorrow

We’ve followed Virgil Baruchel from drawing on napkins to drawing on paper, painting on paper to scratching layers of oil stick off canvasses to globbing paint on carpet padding, and from hauling wood and metal from the streets to hand-building beautiful, reclaimed furniture. We’ve followed him from Toronto to Paris to New York, and we’re really, very happy to have him back here again. And we’re really, very excited to see what he’s come up with now.

Virgil has shown his work with us and supported About Face since our very first show. We wouldn't miss his Toronto solo show opening, tomorrow at Stussy Toronto, 1000 Queen St W (at Ossington), and you shouldn't either!

Facebook event here.

See more of Virgil's work here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Last Weekend for Local Goods at Mutts Fall Shop

Hey T.O! Go check the Fall installment of the Mutts & Co pop-up. Lots of great local clothing, jewelry, goodies and art from the likes of Muttonhead, OSC Cross, Kathryn Macnaughton and more, including canned pies from Nat and cards and prints from Lauren of AFC! This weekend is the last chance to scoop Canadian-made goods like honey, hot sauce and down-filled coats from local creatives and brands. Check the Facebook event for a full list of what's being stocked and, (eek!) it's not too early to start checking off your holiday gift list!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Workshop for (New)Bees!

Join local beekeepers, Gurushabd and Zack at the Carrot Commons Green Roof this weekend for an intro to urban beekeeping! Fun! Bees are an integral part of our eco-system. These experts will fill you in on the whys and hows and help you get some honey out of it. They know what's up!

For more info contact Gurushabd at