Beach Arts Scene

After a five-year break and frequent prodding from fellow artists, Liz Russ has reopened a gallery space to replace her much-missed Gallery 888.

Studio 888, a smaller space much farther east than the Leslieville gallery that was named for its street address, opened during the Beaches International Jazz Festival. The new address may have something of a similar feel to the previous location, but that wasn’t always the case, according to Russ.

Studio 888
Studio 888

“When I first opened up 888, Leslieville was kind of rough,” she said.

Studio 888 is operating with sporadic hours for the time being, as Russ builds toward a fully operational space in early 2016. She promises Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m., but beyond that, anyone wanting to stop by will need to either take their chances or arrange a visit ahead of time (

Russ had sold the previous gallery and was preparing to move back to the West Coast when she discovered she was about to become a grandmother. The move was scrapped, but it was too late to reverse the sale.

While helping out with her new grandson, she managed to curate a few shows here and there, including a recent collection at Cobalt Gallery on Kingston Road.

Her new location at 2359 Queen St. E. currently features a selection of work by her and some former regulars at the previous space.

Despite the address change, Russ decided to stick with a variation on the original name.

“It just made sense to follow the branding,” she said.

Though her professional background is in the legal industry – she was a notary public and then a paralegal – art was always lurking in the background, waiting to take over.

“This little art heart was beating away for years and years,” said Russ.

There are also plans in the works for yoga, Spanish classes, life drawing sessions, and possibly live theatre.

Having spent so much time helping other artists show their work over the decade the gallery was open, Russ realized the reputation artists can have as tortured or difficult is inaccurate at best.

“Artists are a great weird bunch,” she said. “I’ve made really good friends doing this.”

Check out and, or stop by the Queen Street studio to view the current selection of art, and keep an eye out for shows in the new year.



Stop by Gerrard Art Space, 1475 Gerrard St. E., to check out Matt Wood’s show Multi-Ply, on until Sept. 27.

Matt Wood
Matt Wood

Wood’s abstract paintings, done in oil, acrylic, or both on plywood, offer a colourful and vibrant take on shape and texture. This is Wood’s second solo show at the gallery.

GAS will be part of this year’s Canadian Art Foundation Toronto Gallery Hop. The tour takes place in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal every year, offering guided tours of each city’s galleries and art institutions led by artists, writers, and curators.

The Gallery Hop takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26 and 27. See for more information.



Artist JR is bringing his interactive photography project Inside Out to the East End on Monday, Sept. 28 behind the Coxwell subway station.

JR’s work is inspired by a love of participatory art where people who might not normally spend time in art galleries or museums help create works of art.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., participants can have their face photographed for a temporary mural of local faces to cover a wall at the Green P parking lot. A larger version of the project will take place downtown as part of Nuit Blanche on Oct. 3.

For more on JR’s work see or To volunteer for Inside Out, email



Helen Michelle Mihaly’s floral watercolours are on display at the Beaches branch of the Toronto Public Library.

Helen Michelle Mihaly
Helen Michelle Mihaly

Mihaly is a long-time Beach resident, watercolour artist, and former art teacher. Much of her work is based on flowers in the neighbourhood that she passes on her daily walks.

Kim Langston, Helen’s partner, is a poet and writer. His work is often inspired by Helen’s paintings, and the two also create art and poetry together.

Beach Blooms can be found on the second floor of the Beaches branch. To contact Helen and Kim about their work email



The public art to be installed at the renovated Coxwell subway station has been chosen.

From three solid proposals, the jury unanimously chose Forwards and Backwards by Jennifer Davis and Jon Sasaki.

Forwards and Backwards
Forwards and Backwards, by Jennifer Davis and Jon Sasaki

“The jury was impressed by the evocative elegance of this piece and felt that it skillfully summed up the character of the neighborhood – hopeful, dramatic, playful and exciting,” wrote Cindy Rozeboom of East End Arts, a member of the jury.

The work will be installed by the time construction is complete in 2017.

Meanwhile, the call has been reopened for public art at the ongoing Woodbine subway station renovation.

The jury announced that none of the submitted proposals met all of the criteria, despite the strengths and artistic talent involved in each of the three proposals.

A chosen piece of art will potentially inspire commuters and reflect the neighbourhood, wrote Rozeboom on behalf of the jury. “It is the jury’s belief that the TTC should not compromise on the choice of such a significant addition to the community.”

Art chosen from new submissions will be presented at a future open house.



Boats at sunset, by Felicity Somerset
Boats at sunset, by Felicity Somerset

Birch Cliff photographer Felicity Somerset is holding a two-day studio sale to clear out older prints.

From 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, Somerset’s studio will be open with prints for sale starting at $20. Images from Newfoundland and from her Translations and Colour Play series will be available among others.

Somerset’s studio is at 26 Springbank Ave., southeast of Kingston Road and Birchmount Avenue.

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