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wade (2006)
Various wading pools in the City of Toronto

The wade Collective formed through an interest in art in public spaces, and aims to open the dialogue between the arts, the community, and the urban landscape. wade shows works of public art through interventionist and time-based practice within the existing network of over 100 wading pools in Toronto’s system of parks. wade events are co-presented by the artist-run centre YYZ Artists’ Outlet.

The project gives artists a chance to showcase their work with a direct connection to audience. wade confronts artists with the life of recreational space. As we engage playfully in our environments, we foster an innate sense of meaning and importance of place. Events, installations, and performances are staggered over the duration of a weekend, encouraging people to move from one to the next. The nature of the project creates parallels between the city, the pool, and the public, raising awareness of pools as public domain. Our natural and social resources are highlighted through vital experience. Toronto’s identity as a collection of communities is emphasized and its diversity celebrated.

Wading pools relate to a neighbourhood scale and a city-wide network, offering ideal locations for interventions spread throughout the city fabric. The wading pool sites combine the recreative potential of the pool, the childhood experience of wading, and the cultural implications of the park. The projects empower communities by asking them to engage in a manner atypical to a wading pool site. wade considers art as a social process we all participate in, contributing to the life of the park and the city as a cultural construct. As the original intent of the work becomes modified through public participation, the audience is added as author. The practice implies a ripple effect which would extend to any day of the year: wade proposes a form for a public reclamation of recreational space within everyday life.

Publication available at YYZ Artists' Outlet
“wade”, Catalogue of the WADE exhibition, co-authored by Christie Pearson, Sandra Rechico, and Sally Mckay.

Thanks: Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, City of Toronto, YYZ Artists' Outlet, TO Live With Culture, Gary, Gilbert, Rebecca, Gregory, The Office of Gilbert Li, Gladstone Hotel, Hexagram, Centre for the Arts in Society- Carnegie Mellon, and Turf Design.