curious oddities

The Mushroom Studio

In a mushroom, on the edge of Toronto’s financial district, there works an artist.  Not just any old mushroom mind, but a glorious 20-foot-tall Amanita, constructed of steel, rubber, wood and foam. Delightfully magical and fanciful, the only thing missing is a hookah-smoking caterpillar.


Photo by Ben Tong

If you walk along King Street East (just a block and a bit past Yonge street) you can catch your first glimpse of the giant fungus through the gates. It sits nestled among the condos, stores and restaurants in the Toronto Sculpture Garden. The Mushroom Studio is a temporary installation and work space created by artist Katie Bethune-Leamen as part of an ongoing public art project, funded by the City of Toronto.

Past installations have included: a “real” UFO, a pioneer-style log cabin complete with a forest and a plexiglass and aluminum wind tunnel blowing sand dunes across industrial machinery and objects- anyone remember the opening scene for the movie Hardware??


Photo by Ben Tong

Katie has may reasons for having chosen a mushroom for her piece, but my favorite came up in an interview with she states: “The reason I like them [mushrooms] is that they can be delicious and they can be deadly. This kind of instability is at the heart of any really good piece of work.”

I have included a  video interview with Katie Bethune-Leamen speaking to Leah Sandals (on behalf of Canadian Art) about her piece, mushrooms, and the challenges of trying to work while being on exhibit.

Visit The Mushroom Studio soon! The installation will only be in place until April 15. The Toronto Sculpture Garden is located at 115 King Street East, Toronto, Ontario.


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