Earlier this fall, the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago participated for the first time in EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art. In its eight year, EXPO CHICAGO connects artists from over 24 countries to art-lovers and buyers in the upper Midwest. Thanks to our Consulate General, Canada’s cultural industries were well-represented. Three Canadian curators – Julia Paoli from Mercer Union (Toronto), Sarah Robayo Sheridan from the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, and Jamie Isaac from the Winnipeg Art Gallery – took part in EXPO’s Curatorial Exchange Program. Another 17 Canadian artists shared their work and representatives from four galleries were also on hand.
The creative industries are important components of Canada’s economy, and are at the heart of our competitive advantage on the international stage. In 2017, creative industries accounted for $53.1 billion CAD in GDP – or 2.7 % of Canada’s overall GDP. It’s no wonder that our trade commissioners in Chicago jumped at the chance to both showcase Canada’s art and culture and grow our economy when planning for EXPO CHICAGO began! What’s more, EXPO CHICAGO delivered for our artists and galleries. One of the participating Canadian galleries, Georgia Scherman Projects, had significant additional sales as a result of participating, and our artists were seen by large crowds.
EXPO CHICAGO isn’t the only way we are connecting Canadian artists to a U.S. market. In 2017 and 2018, Toronto-based Kirsten MCrea and Chicago-based Justus Roe painted large public murals in each other’s cities, as a symbol of our bilateral friendship. Check these out next time you’re near Chicago’s South Loop or Toronto’s Roncesvalles Pedestrian Bridge.