Winter Light Exhibition

OPEN CALL: This is a call for site-specific light projects with an interactive component for the 2020 Winter Light Exhibition. Winter Light invites submissions from Ontario artists or collectives. The Winter Light Exhibition will be curated by Ontario Place with submissions based artistic merit in line with the curatorial theme, size + footprint of the exhibit, the use of light and interactivity, and the viability of the exhibit to succeed outdoors in the winter elements. The mandate of the exhibition is to exhibit great art in a public space and use it as a catalyst for interaction and engagement.

The curatorial theme is Cocoon / to Cocoon. From a practical application in technology to biological transformations in life, to ‘Cocoon’ is a term and application that takes its meaning from those that employ it. The act of Cocooning oneself is to establish a state of being in which one can create a singular and unique world through the act of isolation and regeneration. Some may create cocoons that are inclusive, engaging and vast, while others choose a more protective and sheltered space to enclose themselves. In each case, it is all encompassing and requires equal participation between the individual and the ‘Cocoon’.

Projects must present a unique and engaging interpretation of the curatorial theme Cocoon and focus on utilizing both light and user engagement to encourage, stimulate or motivate audience interaction. Applicants are challenged to interpret the concept of being ‘Cocooned’ within the exhibit and the exhibition itself.

Check out these videos from our first and second year.

Project Timeline

  • Submission Period Start: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 2:00 PM EST
  • Submission Period End: November 27, 2019 at 11:59 EST
  • Awarded By: December 2, 2019 (follow up site visits will be scheduled individually)
  • Installation Period: February 2020
  • Exhibition Dates: February 2020 to March 2020

Applicants should schedule a guided visit by emailing Please reference our location map and photos of each location here.

What are we looking for?

  • A strong interactive component that is sustainable for the duration of the exhibition
  • A focused design robust enough to withstand the winter elements (freezing temperatures, high winds and freezing rain)
  • Unique pieces that reflect the curatorial theme
  • A strong and creative use of light throughout the design of the piece and/or experience
  • Submissions that meet safety standards, electrical codes, building codes, etc. as required by the project design.
  • A design that acknowledges Ontario Place is a public space that experiences heavy pedestrian traffic from 5am to 12am daily. An exhibit must be robust enough to withstand engagement with the public.
  • Exhibits that can be maintained by the Applicant throughout the duration of the exhibit

Check out our Winter Light Exhibition 2020 locations.


Submission Guidelines

Bio and current CV (including examples of previous works)

Description + Concept of Project: includes how it meets the curatorial theme, the interactive component + concept of the design and mock up / renderings (images and specifications for the proposed piece)

Exhibit Delivery and Installation plan that includes, but not limited to:

  • fabrication, onsite build and tear down timelines
  • Size + footprint of the exhibit
  • contingency planning
  • breakout of resources and labour that the applicant will require to execute the piece
  • Material List: applicants must show that the materials chosen are suitable for long term exposure to winter weather, freezing rain, heavy snow, etc.)
  • Applicable permits the applicant will secure, engineering certifications required, etc.
  • A detailed, broken out and itemized budget that outlines in detail all costs and contingencies associated with the project to support the funding being requested.

Exhibit Budget: A successful Applicant may receive up to a maximum of $8500 CAD including HST + Artist Fees. The WLE Team will determine the final amount awarded to each Applicant after a review of the submission and budget submitted. As a result, each Applicant must keep in mind that the full funding is not guaranteed.

Submissions that do not adhere to these criteria will be disregarded. Ontario Place reserves the right to engage specific artists should it be required to fulfill the deliverables outlined. Ontario Place will in no way own the piece post-exhibit unless otherwise discussed with the Applicant directly.

Applicants that are successful in their submission will be asked for the following:

  • Content for didactic signage to be placed at each exhibit
  • Participation onsite for a mandatory light test that will take place prior to the start of the Exhibition.
  • Execute maintenance calls in a timely fashion to maintain the aesthetic and functionality of the exhibit
  • Answer a short post-exhibition survey
  • Agree to the use of bios, photos, social media handles, etc. to promote the Exhibition
  • Consider media requests either onsite, in studio or on the phone
  • Use key messages+images in Artist Pack provided by OPC Marketing to promote the exhibition