Founded in 2015, Project 40 Collective (P40) is an interdisciplinary artist collective that incubates and produces collaborative projects by emerging Asian-Canadian creatives. P40 features artists working in mediums such as literature, visual arts, fashion, music, film, and performance art by those who identify as South Asian, East Asian, Southeast Asian, Central Asian, West Asian, Asian-Diasporic (e.g. Indo-Caribbean) & Mixed Asian. The goal of the collaborative is to build a safe and inclusive space that centers and supports lived experiences, offers a reliable community network, and platforms and amplifies the work of its artists.
In 2019, Project 40 Collective received a $10,000 ArtReach grant to run the project, Diasporasian Futures. The program was a month-long incubator delivered through summer 2019 that featured two streams: art-making (text, film, image, tactile) and space-making (arts management), and offered breakout sessions, mentorship, designated studio time, and guest speakers. On August 3rd, 2019, the incubators culminated in an art exhibition and showcase at community space, 187 Augusta that featured the work of participants. The showcase saw more than 100 people visit over the course of the day, engaging with participants about their projects, and spending time in the space.
When asked how youth participants responded to the project, P40 staff tell us, “They loved it! The Spacemaking cohort continues to hang out, and are often merging their programming together in various collaborations. The Artmakers really enjoyed having time and space to ideate and vision. This freedom to be creative is something that is lacking in a lot of communities, and I think the experience of that freedom was very positive to most of them”. They continue by describing how incredible it is getting to watch “all these community leaders and artists emerge with stronger visions, and more confidence in their craft practice. It’s been so wonderful to have conversations with all our participants, to see how some intentionality and support can really enable people to tackle their own problems”.
Beyond the incredible impact the project had on its participants, project leads noted that they too benefited greatly from the skill-building experiences the program afforded. “This project also allowed us to examine our own ongoing assumptions about programming, our gaps in equity and our biases in interpersonal relationships. We learned a lot from just being in community with so many other wonderful human beings, listening to their stories, journeying with them in their struggles and accomplishments, and dreaming together about what our work could mean for the futures of our communities”.
So what’s next for the program? P40 staff tell us that “many folks have asked when the second round of our incubator will be opening!”. With that feedback in mind, they share, “We aim to run this program again, applying for ArtReach’s Phase 2 funding and looking for a partner community organization to run this program with in order to ensure continuity”.