Call for Submissions: Spring 2017 Billboard on Shaw

In partnership with Artscape Youngplace, Critical Distance is pleased to issue this call for submissions for the 3rd in our series of Billboards on Shaw, an initiative through which we are providing opportunities for curators and artists to propose site-responsive, large-format, print-ready public artworks for the freestanding mural/billboard on our building’s front lawn.

Originally installed during WorldPride 2014 in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation and Street Art Toronto, the 8 x 8-foot structure at Artscape Youngplace was first host to the award-winning artwork No Walls Between Us by Vancouver-based migrant-rights activist Pablo Muñoz. Since then it has been a compelling site for a series of context-specific artworks by Toronto-based artists such as Susana Reisman (in partnership with CONTACT Photography Festival), Steven Beckly (curated by Matthew Kyba), and Ruth Adler (the last two presented by Critical Distance in partnership with Artscape Youngplace).

Through this call, the next billboard in the series will be selected to be displayed for the May–August 2017 term.


As a centre and space devoted to supporting and advancing curatorial inquiry and practice, CDCC is interested in projects that highlight critically engaged, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary practices, underrepresented artists and art forms, and community outreach, education, and engagement.

Critical Distance is committed to fostering inclusive and equitable programs and partnerships and welcomes the participation of curators and artists who represent the diversity of our local and global communities.

Submissions should consider the public, street-level, neighbourhood context of the billboard location, which is in close proximity to a TDSB school property and one block from Trinity Bellwoods Park. Aside from these considerations, there are no thematic restrictions.

There is no fee to participate. See below for information on remuneration and budgetary constraints.

Please submit the requested materials according to the following specifications  

Artists may submit 1–3 images for consideration. Curators may submit works by different artists, max 3 images total.

Please send low-res jpegs (8 x 8 inches at 72 dpi) with your submission, but be sure that any image you send is available at sufficient resolution for billboard printing (50 dpi at 8 x 8 feet).

As this program is limited by cost and logistics to print-ready projects, we cannot accept proposals for handcrafted murals or sculptural applications. Also the current budget accommodates existing work only — fees do not cover commissions/new work.

Please send the following supporting texts in a single editable document.

Artwork information, keyed to filenames. For each image submitted, include Artist, Title, Year, Media, Dimensions (if previously printed/shown in another context).

Brief description of submitted artwork(s) and rationale as to how they address the site/context (max 300 wds per artwork).

Current bio (max 100 wds) and link to website/CV for each submitting artist/curator.

Please let us know how you heard about this call for proposals as well (i.e. CDCC newsletter, Facebook page/group, Instagram, Twitter, word of mouth, etc).

Sending your submission

Email jpegs and text docs to info (at) criticaldistance (dot) ca.

Include the words Submission: Spring 2017 Billboard on Shaw in subject line.

Submission deadline is Friday, April 7th, 2017 at 5 pm.

You will receive an acknowledgement of your submission. As we are a small organization, please be patient if this takes a few days, and do not call or email to follow up unless you have not received an acknowledgement over a week after submitting.

Selection process and next steps

A jury including the CDCC Director and two members drawn from the CDCC executive and advisory boards will review the submissions and select 3-5 finalists for presentation to the AYP management team/community. Final review and approval by AYP in partnership with CDCC will thus take place by Wednesday, April 12th. Unfortunately we are unable to respond to all submissions — only the successful applicant will be contacted.

The selected artist and/or curator will be asked to provide a high-res image, final text for the artwork labels, and profile materials for the CDCC website by Monday, April 17th. If for any reason the selected applicant is unable to provide the required materials by this deadline, the project will go to the next applicant on the list of selected projects.

Critical Distance reserves the right to edit all submitted texts and materials for accuracy, clarity, and concision. We will provide project and production management, promotion and documentation of the selected submission with support from Artscape Youngplace for print production and installation.

Remuneration and more information

The selected artist will receive $375 CAD for solo exhibition of single existing work; if a curator submitted the work, they will receive an honorarium of $200 CAD. Payments will be made by CDCC within 30 days of the exhibition opening.

Submissions that are incomplete or do not otherwise adhere to the specifications will not be considered. Any questions or requests for clarification should be addressed to info (at) criticaldistance (dot) ca prior to submission.

Our address and Google map of AYP/billboard location:

Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC)
Suite 302, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
See Google map of location

Thank you and good luck! Stay tuned for the announcement of the selected project in late April.

Critical Distance thanks Artscape Youngplace for their generous support of this project.


image: placeholder image showing the 
8 x 8 foot billboard structure on our front lawn, facing Shaw Street

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *