Wounded Art Exhibit Sparks Debate

Exhibit Closes Saturday, February 13, 1999

226 Queen Street East (at Sherbourne)
Toronto, Ont.
For more information please call Colette French, 364-0269
Ten works of art on paper by three Canadian artists, destroyed in a recent drive-by shooting at Painted City Gallery in Toronto, were successfully auctioned on Sunday, January 24, at the opening of a special exhibition at Diego's Gallery Café. The show will run until Saturday, February 13. There was also a lively press conference attended by 75 people, during which Diego's Gallery Café announced it would hold another public forum on Sunday, February 28, 2 - 4 p.m., to debate the complex art, drug, police and community issues that were raised.

"These destroyed works of art demonstrate the escalating violent threat to the creative life of our city that must be addressed. The Queen East Business Association (QUEBA) helped organize this event to support small businesses caught in the crossfire of the drug trade." Michael Thomas, Coordinator, QUEBA

"I've lived on this block for eleven years and have run Painted City Gallery for almost three years. The drug dealers are ruining my neighbourhood: in the last two years they've brought guns, crack and a cruel meanness to my street. I organized "Wounded Art" not only to display these fragile and beautiful works destroyed by a 9mm bullet, but to show other artists' work in an expression of solidarity with artists living and working in this neighbourhood." Colette French, Painted City Gallery

"The time for talk is over. It is time to put our plans into action. We need to increase street lighting by 50%, set up a special committee dealing with drug-related crime and increase the drug abuse prevention grants by $1 million. We will be moving on these items immediately." Pam McConnell, Councillor Ward 25, Don River

"This is the most unusual auction I have ever conducted. I am appalled by the random act of violence that destroyed these works of art and I applaud the organizers and supporters of this event. This exhibit also draws attention to the walking wounded people living on our streets." Jack Layton, Councillor Ward 25, Don River

"Illicit drugs are the quintessential human security challenge. I am really glad to be here to-day on behalf of Bill to show support for the art community and businesses in this struggle." Kevin Nathanial, Constituency Office, Rosedale M.P. Bill Graham

"I felt it very important to be here to support the Wounded Art Event and to find out more about the Anishnawbe Health Centre Street Patrol …and I surprised myself by successfully bidding in the auction!" Diane Fulford Gee

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