Submissions being accepted for Strip Mining for Creative Cities?

The Creative City is a fairly recent invention that follows on the heels of the economic and social changes that have come to define the era of post-Fordist, neo-liberal globalization. Creative City planning and policies are being replicated all over the world as cities jockey to attract tourists, financial capital and the middle class urbanites that Richard Florida crassly categorizes as the tolerant and talented “creative class.”

Creative cities are built on top of existing communities, strip-mining them of their natural resources, displacing residents, cultural practices, community infrastructure and replacing vital social safety nets with simulacra of pre-existing forms. Middle- and upper-middle-class consumers are celebrated for their ability to consume and territorialize hip, urban spaces. Meanwhile, the working poor are left to work in precarious, low-wage “uncreative” jobs that sustain creative lifestyles, living in increasingly expensive and inaccessible neighbourhoods.

While Creative City rhetoric touts a potential to invent economic powerhouses of major cities across the world, with trickle-down benefits to existing communities, the practices of these economic initiatives often leave behind a devastation of neighbourhoods. Once culturally rich and economically viable, they become a playground for developers and investors looking for short-term gain.

With this exhibition, curators Heather Haynes and Izida Zorde are looking for artwork that explores processes of strip mining, replica and simulacra as they relate to Creative Cities. Please submit a one-page proposal, samples of your work, and technical and installation requirements. If this is an intervention or site-specific work, please provide information on the site and offer two to three alternative sites.

The deadline for proposal submissions is August 2, 2008. The exhibition dates run from September 11 to October 11, 2008.

Proposals can be sent via e-mail to or by regular mail to:

Toronto Free Gallery
1277 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M6H 1N7