The Best Contemporary Art Galleries for Emerging Artists in Toronto
The best galleries for emerging artists in Toronto are great places for a truly divergent, original art experience. If you're looking for art that's not expensive, and not created en masse to decorate a condo, these venues will show you work that's experimental, seedy, playful, and ignores everything we know about art from the past - all in spaces that are often run by the emerging artists themselves. If you're jonesing to rub elbows with the new guys in the city's art scene, you can get your fix here.
Here are the best galleries for emerging artists in Toronto.
Located in a converted 1950s smoke shop at Dundas and Roncesvalles, The Black Cat is one of the most Toronto-centric gallery spaces, showing mostly local art, and intersecting three art-heavy neighbourhoods - Bloordale, The Junction, and Roncesvalles. With a heavy exhibition turnover rate, a ton of diversity of content, and well-attended openings, they offer lots of opportunity for emerging artists to have their work seen by lots of eyes. More »
Hashtag's mandate revolves around showcasing the energetic, creative output of the internet-savvy generation (i.e. the ones who get what "#hashtag" refers to). As a result, most of the work here references illustration and design more than didactic practices; Hashtag's artists are a diverse bunch working in a variety of media. The gallery also offers support services like framing, art installation, and event planning to help make art creation a bit easier for everyone. More »
On Dundas West, near aesthetically-similar spaces like Erin Stump Projects, Jr. Projects, and Art Metropole, LE Gallery hosts emerging artists exclusively. In fact, LE's young director Wil Kucey (who opened the gallery in his third year of Curatorial Studies at OCAD) says that he's more invested in an artist's practice as a whole than their specific works - inspiring words for artists who have yet to find their niche, which is, sadly, a necessary part of navigating the art world successfully. More »
MKG127 is one of the few galleries for national emerging artists that puts up non-traditional, experimental shows (for instance, last summer's all-female group show). The space uniquely offers two exhibition areas, and often, in group shows, emerging talent has an opportunity to show bold work alongside one of their inventory of established artists. More »
An institution strictly for emerging artists, Xpace is a non-commercial artist-run centre, funded by the OCAD Student Union - and much of the work here features its students or alumni. The gallery's frequent programming typically includes a group show in the front, a solo show in the back, and a one-artist window space at their successful new-ish Lansdowne gallery. Expect to see some of the city's best young talent here at their well-attended openings (oh, and lots of cool fashion too). More »
Tucked on a small residential space off Noble Street in Parkdale, Goodfellas is one of the largest and most unique commercial art spaces in the city. Their roster is made up entirely of painters, so it's an excellent space to come look for art that you may actually consider putting above your mantel. It's also a great venue for a party - as the site of the most recent Vice Photo Show, the multi-level space was great for coupling art-gazing with socializing. More »
Narwhal focuses primarily on didactic, discursive projects that feed into the criticality of the contemporary art world. With an international wield that comes from its well-connected founders and involvement in art events, the gallery's new-and-improved Junction space is one of the best arenas for emerging arts to create liaisons with a larger community. More »