The Bentway’s 2024 summer programming to include public art exhibition, Softer City

The Bentway has announced its summer 2024 season which will feature free public art presented under the Gardiner Expressway and more until October 2024.

The Bentway recently announced its Summer 2024 season which will feature large-scale parties, community recreation, and free public art presented under the Gardiner Expressway that will run from May 24 to October 6, 2024.

While the latest Toronto Foundation Vital Signs Report named Toronto “one of the loneliest places in the country,” the Bentway asserts that urban public spaces play a fundamental role in bolstering social connections and building community health.

“Cities are becoming increasingly lonely places to live, in part due to rising costs and increased demands on daily life, but also in how our communities are designed. We believe that shared public spaces like The Bentway can help us meet the growing challenge of urban isolation by creating the conditions for shared experiences, encouraging people to reconnect to their neighbours,” said Ilana Altman, co-executive director of The Bentway.

The cornerstone of the season is The Bentway’s free public art exhibition, Softer City. It consists of a series of six commissioned art installations, performances, and events that explore “softness” as a collective strategy for social connections.

Softer City introduces the Canadian premiere of Rosana Cade’s performance work, Walking:Holding, a project that invites one audience member at a time to walk hand-in-hand with a series of local strangers, and invites “reflections on hypervisibility and intimacy in public space.”

Esteemed artists Nnenna Okore and Nico Williams will also soften the concrete infrastructure with colourful Ankara fabric and traditional Indigenous regalia designs.

The summer season will also feature Chloë Bass’s sculptural benches situated around the The Bentway Skate Trail, and offer guests the opportunity to sing into Toronto-based sound artist Heather Nicol’s Wind Ensemble, where visitors can create their own choir.

Lastly, visitors will be able to relax and fall back at Soft Fits, a playful lounge-scape under the trees facing Canoe Landing Park, created by WIP Collaborative and local teenagers.

“Our programming line-up this summer is designed to help Torontonians reconnect with the city and each other through a series of invitations: to hold hands together; to dance, draw, sing, and move together; to soften the barriers that separate us,” said Anna Gallagher-Ross, senior manager of programming at The Bentway. “The artists, architects, and designers in Softer City are exploring softness as a means of humanizing our cities, connecting communities, and creating space for collective repair.”

The Bentway will also welcome wellness icon Adriene Mishler of Yoga with Adriene for her first-ever live event in Canada. On July 6, Mishler will lead thousands of Torontonians in a live outdoor class (co-hosted with Fort York) that centers on softness.

For more information or to view a detailed schedule, click here.