Art Spin is an organization that presents exceptional contemporary art in unexpected spaces to create unique public experiences.
We’re a gallery without walls, a cultural centre that lives and travels across the city, a nomadic arts programmer and a cultural mediator – mentoring, collaborating, supporting and sharing contemporary art – making it public in the process.
Acting as urban explorers, curators and creative collaborators, we discover and share overlooked and under-utilized spaces. We recontextualize the built environment as a platform for contemporary art, crafting an atmosphere for a shared experience. The site is never secondary; place matters and our projects expand the meaning – and push the boundaries – of public art.
Detritus by Jonathan Schipper.
Curated by Art Spin in a road salt storage dome for Nuit Blanche Toronto, 2019.
People matter too; our approach makes art captivating and approachable, to both experienced and newly initiated audience members alike. Multiple-entry points open up the work to a broad and diverse public. Although our projects might be temporary and ephemeral in nature they have a lasting impact.
We’ve curated exhibitions and projects in abandoned buildings, on sailing ships and across a series of storage lockers. We’ve developed creative programming for talks and events, established an elaborate arts festival at a decommissioned theme park, curated Toronto’s 2019 Nuit Blanche and continue to be known for our founding events - our beloved art bike tours.
Art Spin is led by the collaborative curatorial duo Layne Hinton and Rui Pimenta; artists, curators, city-builders, cultural mediators and urban explorers. We’re supported across various projects by interns, volunteers, artists, partners, funders and collaborators. As a small organization, we’re nimble, responsive and industrious, doing a lot with a little.
Our audience of cyclists on an Art Spin bicycle tour in 2017.
Art Spin presented the 11-day art festival, in/future, which re-activated Ontario Place.
The Holding Patterns exhibition transformed 21 storage lockers with a variety of art installations.
Bike tours grew beyond galleries to include newly-commissioned temporary artworks and exhibitions. The first exhibition took place at the Planet Storage warehouse.
Layne joined Rui as co-curator. Art Spin was born.
Gallery Spin, an art gallery bike tour was founded by Rui.
Art Spin celebrated 10 years.
Layne & Rui curated Creation : Destruction, a Nuit Blanche exhibition area, bringing their unique site-specific approach, crafting an overall journey and experience.
The Tower Automotive Building Exhibition took a more site-specific approach as Art Spin honed its curatorial style and voice.
Moving from land to sea, Art Spin left behind the bicycles for an art tour of commissioned projects visible from the deck of the Kajama, a tall ship, sailing Toronto’s harbour.
Art Spin incorporated
as a not-for-profit arts organization.
Art Spin was born in 2009 under the name Gallery Spin, founded by Rui Pimenta as a small bicycle tour of contemporary art galleries. The following year, Layne Hinton came on board as a collaborator and Co-Curator.
The bike tours - Art Spin’s seminal event – always included curated aspects; exhibitions, installations and performances. The bikes were merely a vessel, a method, a device; the art experiences always came first. Over time, the tours became elaborate – large, temporary curated events with newly commissioned contemporary public artworks, growing in scope and scale. This approach increasingly took art outside of a traditional context and presented it in alternative spaces – exploring the city with site-specificity became central to how Art Spin works. The bike tours grew from a few dozen participants in those early years to hundreds of participants taking over the streets. The demand for Art Spin’s creative, collaborative and non-traditional approach was palpable.
Today, Art Spin has grown into an arts organization that produces and presents contemporary art – through curated exhibitions, festivals and creative events – beyond the bike tours. Though those signature and beloved events have continued. Public art, temporary installations and unexpected sites remain central to how they work. As a duo, Layne & Rui have taken their approach and applied it to their larger creative and curatorial practice, blurring boundaries for how they work both as individuals and as an organization.
Art Spin is behind some of Toronto’s most exciting contemporary art events including the in/future festival at Ontario place in 2016 and the downtown exhibition area for Nuit Blanche in 2019, along with a whole host of projects and exhibitions; Holding Patterns, the Tower Automotive Building Exhibition and the tall-ship art tour - to name but a few.
"Curating art that reacts to unexpected, alternative spaces has long been the duo's M.O. As Art Spin, they've worked in empty lots, a grocery store, the middle of Lake Ontario."
- Leah Collins
Rui is a connector of people, a storyteller, explorer and a cultural ambassador. He’s always gravitated towards those streams of cultural production that aren’t reliant on commercial viability but instead, celebrate art as a fully embodied experience regardless of genre or discipline, something you can see clearly reflected in Art Spin programming to this day.
His academic background in Philosophy and Humanities served as an unexpected springboard into the arts. He maintained an active art practice between 2000-2014, was a member of the now defunct artist-run gallery Eastern Front, and Co-Founder and Director of Median Contemporary Gallery. His curatorial role with Art Spin is the main way by which Rui currently channels his creative practice.
Before life in the arts Rui, along with his brother, owned and operated a bar, where his programming chops took root, booking events and musical performances. He continues to work in hospitality as a bartender - in fact, the restaurant world is where he met and befriended Layne. Hospitality has always been an important part of how Rui operates in the world - this guest-centric focus infiltrates his curatorial approach, considering the complete experience from the journey to the art, as a thoughtfully calculated experience.
Rui pioneered innovative initiatives at both the Toronto Artist Project (Video Art Box) and the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (Art Now) both of which expanded the programming scope of these art fairs by including underrepresented disciplines such as video, installation and performance art. He sat on the Board of Directors at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, participated as an advisor on the City of Toronto’s External Advisory Committee on the Public Art Strategy, has served on juries for the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council. He currently sits on the Arts Advisory Committee for The Bentway. He’s been invited to participate as a speaker, panellist, advisor and jury member for various events, organizations and projects. This work, engaging creatively across the city, has shaped how he sees public space and the engagement of the public as a major priority in his curatorial practice.
Rui is a cyclist, thinker and cultural sponge who can make a mean cocktail.
Layne is an artist, fabricator, producer, project manager, curator, cultural connector and mediator. She has worn many hats at Art Spin since joining in 2010 – but ultimately is always working to shape public space, explore and reveal elements of the city and using art as a tool to bring people together. She inadvertently became a city builder and urban explorer in the process.
As an artist, her work often plays with light and shadow, space and architecture – building machines and installations that explore elements of cinema and projection. She works across mediums, and her works are often responsive to the architectural space in which they are installed. In some ways, her practice ironically nods to that of a traditional curator; collecting, arranging and caring for found objects, which she brings to life in new configurations. Her work has been shown in New York, Paris and Toronto and she’s participated in various residencies including at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in 2013, Wreck City in Calgary in 2019, and she has been selected to take part in the Toronto Arts Council Leader’s Lab residency at the Banff Centre in 2021.
As a curator, she works far more collaboratively and creatively, acting as an active partner, supporter and mentor. She came to curating as an artist, interested in bringing art outside of traditional spaces and providing new ways for artists to work and interesting spaces for them to explore creatively. Having worked on the public art program for Waterfront Toronto, as advisor on the City of Toronto’s External Advisory Committee on the Public Art Strategy, and in programming and production for Nuit Blanche, Layne knows the impact that art can have on a city. She also sits on the Board of Directors for InterAccess, was recently granted the OCAD University Alumni Trailblazer Award and has been invited to participate as a panellist, speaker, advisor, consultant and jury member for numerous events, organizations and projects.
Layne is a cyclist, collector and maker with a love for brutalist architecture and second-hand finds.
Tribüne by Hannsjana, performed for Art Spin Berlin, 2018
Colleagues and friends in numerous cities around the world have worked with us to create their own Art Spin Bike Tours that share our ethos of multidisciplinary programming, animating unusual and alternative public spaces, affordability, community and urban exploration. It's been a pleasure to watch these organizations interpret our bike tour modeling their own unique ways.