Pirate Life art tour on boat

Toronto to be home to first-ever immersive art tour and boat cruise

Calling all artists: there’s a new residency program that will pay you to help create an immersive art tour on a boat. Presented by Pirate Life, the program is called Art & Water and invites artists of all disciplines to bring their creative skills on deck to build the art tour on three pontoon boats in Toronto harbour.

Art & Water was created in response to the lack of accessible spaces for artists to create during the pandemic due to restrictions. As a result, Pirate Life is offering up their boat as an open-air performance and rehearsal venue.

The group has also applied for a liquor licence, so it looks like an evening boat cruise, with a cocktail, and an immersive art tour experience will be offered this month. Sounds like the perfect pandemic date night.

The program pays $3,500 to the artist as a salaried employee as well as $1,000 for materials, depending on the idea that’s being brought to life. Artists will conceptualize a central theme for the boat, gather the supplies, then execute the idea for people of all ages to enjoy.

Examples of creative themes for the art tour boats include “Ride the Rainbow” featuring a colourful assortment of bean bag chairs, inflatable unicorns and technicolour walls, or “Nature Concept,” which, as its name suggests, incorporates plenty of plants, foliage, flowers and even tree trunks.

Last summer, Pirate Life featured Friday night concerts on its boats.

With locations in Toronto and Ottawa, Pirate Life’s mission is to connect communities through arts and culture while providing a platform for other artists, such as musicians and comedians, to create. Over the years, they have supported nearly 300 events and performances on the ship and provided over $300,000 in free space to artists.

As strong advocates for artists’ rights, Pirate Life is campaigning for more access for Ontario artists during the reopening act, urging the government to reopen rehearsals, allow filming inside performance spaces and set capacity limits for theatres based on square footage.

The artist residency program and art tour runs from June 2 to 30 at 635 Queen’s Quay West.

Article exclusive to TRNTO