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12 Trees Exhibition Encourages Contemporary Artists to Go Green

Gardiner Museum featuring installations made from natural, recycled, and sustainable materials

Toronto, ON October 25, 2016—Last year, the Gardiner Museum’s annual 12 Trees exhibition was transformed by contemporary artists and designers who reinterpreted the traditional Christmas tree, drawing more visitors to the Museum and providing a spectacular backdrop for the sold-out G Party gala.

This year, the Museum presents a new crop of original trees, inspired by the theme “Good for the Earth”, and curated by internationally-renowned artist and environmentalist, David Buckland. The exhibition opens on November 18, 2016 and runs until January 8, 2017.
“This year’s 12 Trees exhibition is a call to artists from our hearts, asking them to imagine the future possible—to transform and inspire us, to celebrate with us and spread joy,” says Buckland.

The installations, made from natural, recycled, or sustainable materials, include a tower of terracotta planting pots, a tree made from deconstructed cotton dress shirts, a repurposed wood canoe, and a dreamlike video that takes viewers on a journey through the forest at night. The works draw attention to environmental themes ranging from the commercialization of water to the dwindling bee population.

“This year, the Gardiner is taking the opportunity to celebrate the Earth—the very foundation of clay,” says Kelvin Browne, Executive Director and CEO of the Gardiner Museum. “We recognize the vital role that art has to play in raising awareness about key contemporary issues, as well as the importance of collaborating with and providing a platform to local artists and artisans who are committed to sustainable practices.”

In addition to the twelve artist installations, the Gardiner is erecting a 40-foot white spruce on the Museum’s front plaza designed by the Presenting Sponsor, Nordstrom, and donated by Ontario Wood and Forests Ontario, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the renewal and stewardship of Ontario’s forests.

“Trees are truly our most sustainable resource. They clean the air and water, provide beauty and shade, and contribute to our lives from seedling to harvest and beyond,” explains Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “We partner with the Gardiner for the 12 Trees exhibition to help everyone understand that choosing real trees, which look amazing and have a fantastic fragrance, is the environmentally greener choice for the holidays, and using locally grown wood products contributes to a greener future for all.”

The outdoor tree, designed by Nordstrom, will be decorated with multicolored ornaments inspired by classic Nordic lines, themes, and icons that pay homage to the company’s Scandinavian heritage as well as the Museum’s current special exhibition True Nordic: How Scandinavia Influenced Design in Canada.

Media are invited to a special VIP preview and tree lighting with the artists on Thursday,
November 17 from 6 to 8 pm. To attend, RSVP to Rachel Weiner, Communications Coordinator at 416.408.5062 or

For more information about the 12 Trees exhibition, visit

12 Trees will be celebrated at the Museum’s signature gala fundraiser, The G Party, hosted by Alison Smith, on December 1, 2016. Guests will indulge in local flavours and be immersed in all things one-of-akind, handmade, and “Good for the Earth”. The evening will also feature a special holiday performance by The Art of Time Ensemble, and an auction of premium eco-oriented items, including a trip to Fogo Island.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Gardiner Museum’s education programs and community outreach. For tickets, visit

Susan Avishai, Linda-Marlena Buchholtz Ross, Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks, Amelie Desjardins, Christine Dewancker and Katherine Strang, Sandra Gregson and Gary Spearin, Rodney Smith for Hermès, Fiona Legg, Erin Lightfeather, Aurora Pagano, Liza Giffen and Andrew Mestern of the Stratford Festival, and Roby Thomas.

The exhibition is being curated by internationally-renowned artist, curator, filmmaker, writer, and environmentalist, David Buckland. Buckland, whose works are included in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, among others, created and now directs the Cape Farewell project, which has brought together over 300 artists and some 60 climate scientists to create operas, films, artworks, pop music, and novels addressing the complexities and global impact of climate change.

Buckland recently curated three new major exhibitions: CARBON 12 in Paris, CARBON 13 in Marfa, Texas, and CARBON 14, co-curated with Claire Sykes, at the Royal Ontario Museum. Each exhibition was comprised of new work commissioned from international artists and cultural practitioners, addressing climate change and the reality of a desired cultural shift.

The Gardiner Museum celebrates the art of ceramics and engages local and international audiences by promoting understanding of the long history of people crafting in clay. The Museum stewards a highly important collection, connecting visitors to the fundamental role of ceramics in many cultures throughout history, and offers special temporary displays, many highlighting the relevancy of ceramics to contemporary life.

The permanent collection comprises approximately 4,000 objects, and focuses on specific areas which have been collected in depth. These include the most important collection of European porcelain in Canada, with particular strengths in Meissen, Vienna, and Hausmaler decorated porcelain, as well as a comprehensive collection of figures inspired by the commedia dell’arte. The Gardiner holds the best collection of Italian Renaissance maiolica in Canada, and a superb collection of English tin-glazed pottery. It preserves highly significant collections of ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese blue and white porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary Canadian ceramics. The Gardiner is among
the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. For more information, please visit:

Forests Ontario is the voice for our forests. Working to promote a future of healthy forests sustaining healthy people, Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas, as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario’s forests through restoration, education and awareness. Visit or follow us @Forests_Ontario.

Similar to Foodland Ontario, Ontario Wood is a way to connect with a local wood producer. Whether your choice is made based on quality and price, whether it’s about supporting local producers and local communities, whether it’s about what’s best for the environment, or whether it’s simply because you love the natural beauty of wood products—Ontario Wood can meet your needs. Visit