Art takes over city parks this sum­mer

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - TORONTO - David Hains Metro | Toronto

A $1-mil­lion pro­gram will bring hun­dreds of artists to lo­cal parks this sum­mer.

Fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful pi­lot project that at­tracted 34,000 spec­ta­tors last year, Arts in the Parks has roughly dou­bled in size for 2017. At least 235 fea­tured events will take place at 38 parks un­til Sept. 16. The events in­clude con­certs, plays, dance and even lessons on how to make peb­ble mo­saics or play the ukelele.

Toronto Arts Foun­da­tion CEO Claire Hop­kin­son en­cour­ages Toron­to­ni­ans to use the pro­gram as an ex­cuse to check out parks they haven’t vis­ited.

“This is a won­der­ful way to dis­cover the city,” she told Metro.

Arts in the Parks pri­mar­ily takes place out­side of Toronto’s down­town; the idea is to make arts and cul­ture more ac­ces­si­ble in the in­ner sub­urbs.

Taiko drum­mer Koyoshi Na­gata of the band Na­gata Shachu is look­ing for­ward to per­form­ing in a new set­ting.

“Our group usu­ally plays in the down­town core,” he said. “For Arts in the Parks, what we re­ally wanted to do was reach au­di­ences that wouldn’t typ­i­cally go all the way down­town for a per­for­mance.”

Na­gata added that com­ing to a com­mu­nity to per­form for free is also in keep­ing with the spirit of taiko.

“Drum­ming is meant to bring peo­ple to­gether,” he said. “You couldn’t find a more per­fect match than hav­ing per­for­mance in the park, which is the cen­tral gath­er­ing point for peo­ple.”

Na­gata Shachu will also pro­vide hands-on taiko drum­ming work­shops be­fore each per­for­mance, like the one they pro­vided for Mayor John Tory at a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day.

He was “above av­er­age” for a be­gin­ner, said Na­gata. “He has good rhythm.”

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