The stretch of Dundas Street West between Lansdowne Avenue and Rusholme Road isn't traditionally known as an artistic hub, but Helder Ramos of the local business improvement area (BIA) said that is on the verge of change.

"People are opening galleries. They are investing and a lot of artists live around here," he said. "We are at the beginning of that, but it is an area that is quickly changing."

The Dundas West BIA and the Brockton Triangle neighbours group plan to highlight the artistic nature of the neighbourhood by hosting the area's first annual DuWest Art Gallery Crawl, free guided tours of local galleries and other participating venues on Saturday, Nov. 26.

"For my roll as the coordinator of the BIA, I want more eyes in the galleries, which will hopefully increase sales for them," he said. "But I also think it is important to get local residents and people in the neighbourhood more involved with the shops and businesses."

That interaction helps residents and businesses build a network and that network has been vital in sustaining an area, which Ramos said is just emerging from a rough patch because of prolonged construction along the street.

"Those networks were very helpful in helping businesses sustain themselves over the past three or four years because of construction," Ramos said.

The Gallery Tour grew out of last month's Open Studio Tour organized by the Brockton Triangle residents group. Originally the gallery tour was going to be included in the open studio tour.

"We decided it was best to separate the two because they are two different things," said Ramos, coordinator Dundas West BIA. "We have decided to make them guided tours with people at the gallery talking to the people about the art, where as the studio tour was more of a do-it-yourself idea."

There was no problem getting the local galleries on board, he said.

"This is not a new idea and I think a lot of people on this strip had the thought of doing it," he said. "But I came into this job thinking it was something I want to do. The board was in favour of doing it. The members were in favour of doing it."

Tours begin at noon, 1 and 2 p.m. at Full of Beans, Coffee House and Roastery at 1348 Dundas St. W. where the art of Tennille Rose Will is on display.

Along the tour route, the Meredith Keith Gallery is presenting Cynthia Girard's solo exhibition Sweet Asbestos while Derek Sullivan's exhibit Walking and Chewing the Fat at the Same Time will be at Jessica Bradley Art + Projects.

The Disasters of War by Spanish painter and printmakers Francisco Goya is the inspiration for The Disasters of Peace, an illustrated memoir designed as an installation by Canadian author Larry Gaudet. It will be on display at Alison Smith Gallery.

On display at The Department is Live City Music, a collection of sketches made by Stewart Jones of Canadian musicians. Otino Corsano's latest project Happiness - Part 1 at p|m Gallery and Zoe Maeve Jenkins's series of large pen and ink drawings and expanded lino prints will be on display at Lula Lounge.

Tours will take about two hours and end at Naco Gallery and Cafe, 1665 Dundas St. W. where Local sculptor and furniture maker LUBO presents his latest installation, Ridge Line.

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  • |Inside Toronto.com
  • Nov 11, 2011