ArtWalk 2.0: Art and Technology Converge

New, immersive augmented reality and audio experience showcases over 70 outdoor public art pieces in downtown Toronto

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TORONTOAug. 31, 2023 /CNW/ – Today, Toronto Downtown West BIA, home to the Entertainment District, is publicly launching ArtWalk 2.0 – a groundbreaking initiative that combines art and technology to create an unparalleled exploration of the area’s existing 70+ pieces of outdoor public art.

ArtWalk 2.0, an augmentation of the original online map and self-guided walking tour that launched in 2021, now incorporates an audio component for 70+ artworks plus six augmented reality experiences – including the CN Tower and five iconic downtown Toronto artworks and buildings by diverse artists from Canada and abroad. ArtWalk 2.0 is accessible to art lovers or those new to exploring art, is completely free, and offers an immersive, multi-sensorial journey that adds a new dimension to the city’s art scene.

“ArtWalk 2.0 creates an experience where residents and visitors alike can connect with the district’s rich concentration of art and history. It encourages dialogue, ignites curiosity, and transforms Toronto’s downtown into an interactive cultural playground,” says Dana Duncanson, Director, Marketing & Communications, Toronto Downtown West BIA. “With support from our partners at Exar Studios and funding from the Government of Canada’s Tourism Relief Fund, ArtWalk represents our commitment to promote, improve and preserve art and culture initiatives in the city.”

“Artwalk 2.0 showcases Toronto’s commitment to celebrating public art, fostering cultural dialogue, and using technology positively to connect more deeply to our communities,” says Ausma Malik, First Deputy Mayor and Councillor, Spadina-Fort York, Ward 10. “Public art shapes every neighbourhood’s character and sparks reflection, conversation, and appreciation among residents and visitors alike.”

How ArtWalk 2.0 works

To get started, download the Engage Art app on your iPhone or Android smartphone by visiting YourExperienceAwaits.ca/arts or the Apple or Google app store. Within the app, choose from six different ArtWalk “outings”, which distills the art pieces into curated journeys. Select the outing, put your earphones in, and start walking.

The audio tour not only tells you about the art you’ll encounter, but also information about the artists and the historical and cultural context of the work.

The six outings are aptly named after the augmented reality piece featured within each route. Once in front of these art pieces/buildings, hold up your phone (with the Engage Art app open), and enjoy the incredible augmented reality visual overlays that animate them in a whole new way. This is where art and technology converge to enhance one’s appreciation of the works.

Five of the six augmented reality stops are now available with one final experience being released on September 23 as part of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche celebrations:

  • CN Tower, Butterfly mural artist: Jo (the ChalkChick)
    • 290 Bremner Boulevard
  • Dream House, Artists: Vong Phaophanit, Claire Oboussier
    • 14 York Street, ÏCE Condominiums at York Centre
  • Glenn, Artist: Ruth Abernethy
    • 250 Front Street West, in front of the CBC building
  • The Poet, The Fever Hospital, Artist: Bernie Miller
    • 215 King Street West, David Pecaut Square
  • TriadArtist: Ted Bieler
    • 123 Front Street West
  • 401 Richmond (launching on September 23)
    • 401 Richmond Street West
Collaborating with Artists to Preserve Vision

The integration of augmented reality into the ArtWalk 2.0 experience is a result of collaboration, where possible, between the Toronto Downtown West BIA, Exar Studios, and the original artists (or their friends and families for those who are deceased). This respectful approach ensured that the augmented reality overlays supported the artists’ original visions, preserving the integrity and intent of their artworks.

“Our consultations with the artists were essential in ensuring that the augmented reality we created remained true to the essence of each piece, only strengthening the viewer’s connection with both the art and the artist’s inspiration,” says Shishir Pande, co-founder and CEO, Exar Studios.

About Toronto Downtown West BIA

Toronto Downtown West BIA represents a vibrant urban community of the best in arts & culture, hospitality, sports and business. The area comprises some of the city’s most iconic cultural landmarks including: the Scotiabank Arena, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the CN Tower, EdgeWalk, Steam Whistle Brewing, Toronto Railway Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium of CanadaCanada’s Walk of Fame, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Rogers Centre, Roy Thomson Hall, Princess of Wales Theatre, Royal Alexandra Theatre, Factory Theatre, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 401 Richmond, Canadian Broadcast Corporation, and Bell Media. It is home to the best national talent including the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet of Canada, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors.

The area has a growing population of 55,000 residents, 19 million visitors annually and a workforce of 115,000+.

Discover everything to see, do and experience in the district at YourExperienceAwaits.ca.

About EXAR Studios

EXAR Studios provides a digital platform to discover authentic cultural experiences, enhanced with Augmented Reality (AR), audio tours, and interactive artwork. The Engage Art application will provide a new way to explore public art, and deepen social connections in Toronto.

ArtWalk 2.0 Funding

This project is funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

See here for concept art and videos of the augmented reality pieces.

 

SOURCEToronto Downtown West BIA

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