I am both humbled and honoured to have been able to collaborate the powerful brand of the Gardiner Museum with the theme of the Joy of Creativity interpreting a Christmas Tree in your own discipline. I described this notion to the committee always using if you are a Television Director you might stack TV’s in a vertical statue. One member asked me: “Will there be any trees?” I said yes, oh yes Virginia, playing on the movie Miracle on 34th Street….there will be trees” and trees we have in forms of car radiators, light boxes, lightning bolts, obelisks, paint sticks, spider webs, photography, video limbs, plexi-glass, folded paper, umbrellas and metal mesh. After a Canadian wide search we selected our 12 Trees and ended up with an abundance of talent in numerous disciplines entwined with exploration of a very simple yet controversial idea: the Christmas Tree.  The disciplines represented here are: two of Canada’s top retailers: Hermes and Holt Renfrew, painters, sculpturers, video artists, set designers, photgraphers, guilds, museums, architects, interior designers and mixed media installation artists. We are diverse and stand together on a single theme.

Kelvin Browne, the Gardiner’s Executive Director & CEO, invited me to Curate 12 Trees; I accepted as long as I could bring excellence to the event as I wanted to take my NYC experience of International Chair of the International Art & Antique Fair and the Co-Chair of the Canadian Council of American Relations and bring in back to my home city, Toronto.

We celebrate the 12 Trees celebrating The Joy of Creativity as the Gardiner Museum on a daily basis celebrates creativity through their clay education and outreach programs. This year’s 12 Trees Exhibition is the Gardiner Museum’s brand that is all about creative spirit in the forefront and this rings strong through these extraordinary, inventive beautiful trees.

Careful what you wish for:  one of my best friends wanted a large Christmas Tree outside to celebrate in our neighbourhood: you know who you are and this is for you. My team and I at Taylor Hannah Architect designed the 40’ tree on the Museum’s plaza interpretive of an Ionic Column with a base of lit silver and gold then the first 1/3 of the tree that is straight represented by metal concentric circles while removing branches, next 2/3 the entasis shaft, the angled portion of a column that is the unlit pure tree crowned by the light lantern by Zac Ridgely that represents the capital. I had the dream team to make this tree a reality and the actual tree was generously donated by Forests Ontario and Ontario Wood. The tree is entitled Beacon of Joy.

This tree is spreading the Joy of Giving I curated with artist Ian Symons to develop a luggage tag made in ceramics that you can purchase, sign and hang on the tree.  All proceeds raised will help us bring children, youth and families staying at The Red Door Shelter to the Museum for special holiday clay workshop.

The G Party’s Magical treat: is the photography collection for the Silent auction. I curated with an amazing photographer Kevin Allwood where I first went through the Gardiner Museum’s Collection choosing 34 pieces ranging from the Royal Hunting Clock from Meissen, Pilgrim Flask Japanese porcelain, Italian renaissance and Ancient American. This is Kevin’s and mine 2nd collection and we are thrilled to present Pure Joy. All photographs are 1 of 5 and would be usually in the range of 1000’s of dollars but with this renowned photographer’s generosity coupled with the Gardiner Museum incredible access to their collection the silent auction pieces are priceless. There are only 12 available this evening.

It is a rare opportunity to make change and beauty while challenging our perception of traditions. To know the rules is to be able to break them. I always say Picasso could not of painted Cubism if he couldn’t paint a perfect still life. 

The 12 Trees: The Joy of Creativity.