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Dear Reader,


I’m grateful to be writing this to you on the occasion of our tenth issue, just two years after someone on a Zoom call jokingly suggested we call it smART, and I ran with the idea. I’ve been running ever since, and I can’t believe just how far we’ve come with this project. Thank you for keeping up with us.

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I’ve always struggled with finding the theme for an issue─so, the theme of all our issues is, once and for all: art and the truly fascinating, occasionally confusing, sometimes insane, but always brilliant artists that make them. Nevertheless, as we were putting this issue together, a sly theme started to rear its head: gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

Alela Diane By Ella Mazur

Gratitude to the artists that joined us for interviews. The writers that dragged these Zoom conversations into the difficult medium of text, the copy editors that grant me sleep and sanity, the illustrators that miraculously manage to turn my half-thoughts and poorly composed emails into works of art in their own right. And gratitude to you again, dear reader, for joining us—it wouldn’t be a conversation without you. 

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What is smART Magazine? We are, above all, a canopy for the arts. You might be here because an artist you’ve always known has just released their latest labour of love, but our hope is that you’ll leave these pages with the work of another artist you’ve never heard of. We are also a canopy of art forms. Early on, I made the difficult decision to not commit our coverage to a single lane of

Angel Olsen By Ella Mazur

interest. Art is rarely as singular as the increasingly esoteric publications that line our shelves, and your interests are usually broader than, say, “The History of Etching in the Shetland Islands.” So, we created a place where contrasting art forms and artists can mingle, where a nascent Toronto alt-pop project is just pages away from an interview with one of the most celebrated violinists of our time. We’ve also traversed geographical distances by travelling outside of our local and national context to find, for example, a Hungarian artist working wonders with her pastels in the Welsh town of Llanymynech. 

Wherever we are, what matters the most is why the art matters. In the nucleus of every artwork is a story. Yet there is another story orbiting this nucleus that the artist has erected about their art. We are grateful that they allow us to insert ourselves right at this tender intersection of stories. See, there it is again: gratitude. I feel incredibly lucky to partake in the genesis of artworks that might very well outlive these pages, to be able to capture these beginnings for our purposes here. So, while the number 10 feels like we’ve reached a natural cadence, we also relish this crisp green sensation of having only just begun. 

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After two years at the coalface of this project and hundreds of Zoom interviews at my dining table with artists that have inspired every fibre of my being, I couldn’t be more grateful for where we are now. I sincerely hope you’ll join us and tune in to the power of slow journalism birthed from a grassroots DIY work ethic. We didn’t wait around for those pesky gatekeepers to let us in on the kinds of stories we wanted to tell.

Hilary Hahn By Ella Mazur

Sometimes the best way to change the old guard is to create new doors into spaces that didn’t exist previously. Yes, it’s hard work – and occasionally it feels like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew – but seeing this publication in the hands of a new reader is the best shit ever. Your readership means the world to us, and we are eternally grateful for it. 

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Welcome to

Issue No.10

of smART



The collection of conversations in this issue builds on our tried and true format of compiling interviews and features in the visual and performing arts, with a sendoff at the end in our Art & Letters section. 

In this Arts & Letters section, our theme of gratitude comes to the surface as poet Ross Gay joins us to discuss his latest book of essays and look back on his magnificent poem, “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude” (page 127). 

Nils Frahm By Kalya Ramu

Michael Zarathus-Cook by Kalya Ramu

In the Performing Arts pages, we celebrate our No.10 with Tegan and Sara, one of Canada’s biggest indie pop duos, who likewise celebrate their tenth studio album (page 58). This conversation with Tegan & Sara is also part of a larger interview series entitled Homegrown, wherein we profile indie musicians who came out of the Canadian indie-pop scene. 

We also launched our latest segment entitled The smART Ensemble. In it, we’ve put together our dream team of artists in the classical and orchestral space—including violinists, opera singers, and composers. Here you’ll also find the announcement of our brand partnership with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as they begin the year-long celebration of not 10, but 100 years of music-making in the city (page 113).

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Ross Gay By Ella Mazur

In our Visual Arts section, we touch down in Calgary for the BUMP street art festival, which turns the city’s high-rises and alleyways into vibrant galleries (page 17). 

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We spotlight a pair of exhibits at the Oakland Museum of California that magnify the intersection of art, feminism, and politics in America. Our correspondent in Barcelona was at the city’s Design Museum for a ceramics exhibit that takes a contemporary spin on the ancient art (page 23). 

Tegan and Sara By Kalya Ramu

Back in the U.S., we take you on a cross-country tour of some of Lighthouse Immersive’s local artists participating in the Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program. This section is bookended by conversations with two Ukrainian artists – from Kyiv and Lviv – are finding a haven for their work abroad while supporting the fight back home.  

I’ll leave you with a few words borrowed from The Writer’s Almanac: be well, do good work, and stay in touch. Most importantly, stay in touch by following us on social media (@smartbylighthouse), subscribing to smART Magazine, tuning into our smARTcast podcast, and signing up for our Weekly Newsletters.

From my desk to yours,

Michael Zarathus-Cook

Toronto, Canada Fall 2022

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