‘Art of the North’ exhibit features Toronto Raptors inspired art

Art and basketball blend in a new exhibit located in Toronto

People view "Art of the North' exhibit which featured Toronto Raptors inspired pieces of art
Spectators view the "Art of the North" exhibit. The exhibit displayed Toronto Raptors inspired art, and ran from Jan. 10-Jan. 13 in downtown Toronto.  Corne Van Hoepen/Toronto Observer

The bass of a Drake song beats methodically as curator Vince Chang photographs art pieces on his smartphone. He is doing this so he can upload the photos to the Raptors app, where fans are able to bid on the pieces.

Chang, who lives in New York, is the curator of the “Art of the North” exhibit, which is a collaboration between the Toronto Raptors and Conscious Basketball. The exhibit, which was located at The Lounge at Live Nation, features over 100 pieces of Raptors-inspired art such as sculptures, paintings, sneakers, and photos that were created by 40 artists who live in Toronto, but some also as far away as Japan.

“The interesting thing is when we put on these shows, and show people our work, they are genuinely amazed and say ‘Wow! Basketball and art can actually go together,'” Chang said.

Conscious Basketball has hosted basketball-themed art exhibits all over North America in the past few years. Following an exhibit in San Francisco for the Golden State Warriors, the Toronto Raptors reached out to Chang to do something similar to engage their fans.

Social media has played a large role in this exhibit. Chang discovers most of the artwork over social media, where the artists and their work are “just a click away.” He then selects which pieces best suit the exhibit that he is currently working on, and puts them on display.

Michael Wu, who lives in Los Angeles, has been an artist since he was five years old. He says he has always been a huge basketball fan, and has been drawing NBA players from all teams.  He adds a sci-fi alien-like twist to the players’ portraits

Being a part of this exhibit has given him “a feeling of pride and joy because I put a lot of time into my art,” Wu said, in an Instagram message, from his home in California. “The Raptors’ involvement in this exhibit is extra validating for me.”

Chang said that the turnout was definitely what he hoped for. The Raptors weren’t sure what to expect from the exhibit, but ended up loving it. Of the 89 pieces available for auction, 57 pieces were sold. The proceeds of the auctioned pieces will go directly to the MLSE Foundation, the charity arm of the team’s owners.

MLSE Foundation Facts

According to its website, the MLSE Foundation “funds the refurbishments of local athletic facilities and funds charities that support kids through sports and recreation programs.”

Since it launched in 2009, the foundation has invested more than $30 million into the Toronto community, and last season was able to impact the lives of more than 125,000 kids.

Source: http://www.mlsefoundation.org/Home.aspx

Chang hopes that because the Raptors loved his exhibit, he will be able to host another bigger Raptors show in the future.

About this article

Copy editor: Ellin Bessner
Posted: Feb 1 2019 8:59 am
Filed under: Arts & Life Basketball Sports