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TO Live has announced that the annual application process for explorations is now open. $7,000 will be awarded to each of six Toronto-based artists, artist collectives or project-based organizations to research an idea or technique that will push the boundaries of their practice.

Now in its fourth year, explorations was conceived by TO Live in recognition of the importance for artists to have creative space and time, free from the pressure of predetermined outcomes, to feed artistic ambition, and to push the boundaries of their practice. To date, explorations has funded 26 artists providing more than $150,000 in direct support.

Consideration will be given to the motivation driving the submission, the potential for innovation in the artist’s practice, and how it feeds into future professional and artistic aspirations. explorations will not provide support for existing projects as its focus is on the opportunity for artists to experiment and to stretch their creative ambitions without the pressures of a finished outcome.

TO Live’s explorations initiative is made possible by supporters of the TO Live Foundation. explorations is generously supported by Power Corporation of Canada.

“We are thrilled to, once again, launch this important program of support for the artists of the City of Toronto. explorations is just one initiative in a suite of programs that TO Live has created to support local artists at all stages of their creative development process,” said Clyde Wagner, President & CEO, TO Live.

Past recipients of explorations grants come from across the arts spectrum and their projects represent an incredible variety of areas of thematic, technical, and academic interest. Last year, in 2023, Anishinaabe multidisciplinary artist Que Rock continued to progress and evolve the Woodlands style; known internationally as Lady C, Caroline Fraser explored the relationship of technique, foundation, history, and expression between Popping and the female body/experience; Tanveer Alam researched processes of group choreography in relation to his interest in Islamic architectural geometry, and its influence on Kathak aesthetics; Candace Kumar’s explored the historical connections of Pangalay, the fingernail dance originating from Indigenous communities in the Sulu Archipelago, across Asian cultures; artist Robbie Grunwald visionary project involved translating real-time air quality and pollution data into captivating soundscapes; Joe ‘Jojo’ Bowden uncovered his Black Loyalists origins to research the contributions of the early Black Loyalist settlements with the goal to determine the identity and meaning of Black Canadian music as a genre; and Tahirih Vejdani conducted exploratory research on the ongoing fight for women’s rights in Iran and through live-looping and vocal underscoring explored the symbolism of voice and veil in relation to identity, collectivism, and emancipation.

The deadline for applications to explorations is 5 pm on Friday, June 28, 2024.

Application details and background on previous explorations artists can be found here:

Applications are encouraged from Indigenous artists, racialized artists/artists of colour, persons with disabilities, women, 2SLGBTQIA+ artists, and any individual who identifies with a marginalized or equity-seeking group.

The successful applicants will be revealed September 11, 2024, and they will have until December 31, 2024, to work with their idea, at which time, in consultation with TO Live’s Programming team, the most appropriate method of sharing their progress will be agreed.

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