Main Squared Festival

OPEN CALL: Main Squared Festival

August 26 - Sep 3, 2017 | Produced by East End Arts | Curated by Labspace Studio |

DEADLINE: May 18, 2017 (5pm EST)


Main Squared is a multidisciplinary 10-day public art festival that will activate and explore the under-used public square at the corner of Main Street and Danforth Avenue in Toronto (August 26 – September 3, 2017).

Drawing inspiration and insight from historical “public squares” while tapping into community aspirations, the festival will invite residents, community members, and the general public to reimagine the square as a space for social engagement, discourse, and civic activism.

Blending contemporary art and community art projects, the festival will feature art installations, interactive activities, workshops, performances, and more.


We are currently seeking art proposals from Toronto and GTA artists or collectives for the creation of new public art projects in addition to existing projects that are thematically aligned.

For new projects, your proposal should outline your general concept, process and desired outcomes. For existing projects, your proposal should describe your specific project and why you feel it needs to happen at Main Squared. How does it fit our theme?

A series of public meetings/workshops will be held in June with apartment residents and the local community. This will be an opportunity for selected artists to further enhance their project research and development with direct input from community members.


  • Large and small temporary public sculptures/installations inside and around the square/complex (must be weather resistant)
  • Durational or one-off performances inside the square
  • Two empty storefronts in the square for window and/or immersive installations
  • Six empty offices (approx. 8’x8′) for immersive installations, performances, interventions, etc.
  • One outdoor billboard for 2D artwork (10′ H x 20′ W) at the NE corner of Main/Danforth
  • One outdoor wall for temporary mural/2D work (west-facing Scotiabank brick wall)
  • The empty “Pit” behind the square. Suitable for installations only.


Preference will be given to projects that…

  • Examine, explore or challenge the notion of what a “public square” should or could be
  • Reference, play with or challenge the traditional uses/activities of public squares
  • Explore the potential of public squares as spaces for social engagement, discourse, and civic activism


Main Square is an apartment complex occupying a three-hectare site. It includes four high-rise towers housing an estimated 2,000 residents, a commercial plaza and a currently-unoccupied community centre. The buildings are clustered around a “Town Square” situated at the corner of Main and Danforth. The space is highly frequented, being centrally located in the middle of a TTC subway station, a Go-Train station, a community centre and public library. Unfortunately, however, the square itself is physically in rough shape, with crumbling cement blocks surrounding a large concrete plaza, tattered half-filled signage, boarded up storefronts and no seats or tables.

Given its accessible location, diversity and density of residents, close proximity to transit and other amenities, Main Square is full of unrealized potential as a vibrant cultural hub.

Goolge Stree View Link


Projects will be funded according to scope, scale, material requirements, etc. A combined artist fee and materials fee between $500 – $3,000 will be awarded per project.


Applications should be sent in PDF format to Laura Mendes at with the subject line:

Deadline: May 18, 2017 (5pm EST)

Your application should include:

  • Short biography
  • Description of your proposed or existing project
  • Location/venues where this project has previously been mounted (if any)
  • Budget (a rough budget will suffice)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Links to supporting material**All supporting material should be included in your PFD proposal or by providing links to external websites where your work has already been uploaded, such as your personal website, YouTube, Facebook, etc. Supporting material may also be submitted through an online file-sharing service such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

If you have any further questions about the submissions process, please do not hesitate to contact us at


Applicants will be notified via email by May 24th when the results are available.


East End Arts is a local art service organization that unites, inspires, and enhances the communities of east Toronto with the transformative power of the arts. East End Arts connects artists and communities, shares resources, increases engagement accessibility and promotes arts & cultural activities in Toronto’s east end.

Labspace Studio is a Toronto-based creative studio and artist collective. Their art projects and curatorial initiatives are often public, site-responsive and participatory in nature, blurring the lines between art and life. They aim to create work that explores and uncovers the intricate connections between people and places.