Have you ever wondered what happens to all the props after a large stage performance, like, say an opera, is over and done with? Dean Baldwin, a Canadian artist known for blurring the line between art and life, had a plan. For the 2015 Feature Art Fair in Toronto, which took place for the second time at the Toronto historical building that houses the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, Baldwin most fittingly fabricated an art installation with objects and accouterments from the Canadian Opera Company’s seldom seen arsenal of props.
Baldwin’s plan was not only to educate visitors about the Feature Art Fair’s unique location, but also to stimulate and engage them in a much larger dialogue on arts and culture. All that in a style that one would expect from a collaboration between four high-integrity Arts partners: a Canadian artist renowned for creating highly participatory art – Dean Baldwin; Canada’s largest opera company – Canadian Opera Company; Calgary’s largest privately funded non-commercial art gallery dedicated to the advancement of contemporary art – Esker Foundation; and one of Canada’s leading contemporary art fairs – Feature Art Fair.
The site-specific installation, titled quite appropriately ‘The Hoard’, included a bar that was serviced by the artist himself. ‘The Hoard’ opened daily between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m., after the art fair’s ‘Feature Talks’ lectures wrapped up, and served as a meeting place for fair’s visitors’ informal discussions. A marriage made in heaven shall we say?
The Hoard offered an experience that was not only artful, but also educational and mostly quite unique. Engaging with fellow art goers in further conversation while sipping a glass or two of bubbly in a room tastefully furnished with props representing a wide range of historic periods, from Ancient Greece to Post-modernism is an experience that’s hard to forget.
Still the most unforgettable aspect of the collaboration was the seized opportunity by the four partners in the first place. The multi-dimensional partnership provided a platform for a collaboration that resulted in an exceptional experience. With subtlety and sophistication, it promoted an enlightening and stimulating program that spoke highly and widely of all four partners involved and to everyone who joined in.
In our next post we’ll offer a couple of crucial lessons on designing trade show booths that spark our imaginations. See you then.