As one of the biggest urban arts festivals in Canada, it’s difficult to imagine a time when $5,000 was a lot of money for the Manifesto festival. Yet as a fledgling organization in 2007, winning the ArtReach Youth Arts Pitch Contest meant a series of firsts for the festival.
This cash prize allowed Manifesto to receive their first funding and stage their first large-scale event. At the time of the Pitch Contest, this ArtReach prize was the festival’s only form of non-sponsorship support.
In Manifesto’s Pitch Profile, Founder and former Executive Director Che Kothari says, “Manifesto was thrilled by the opportunity of being a part of the ArtReach pitch contest, and we were extremely honoured to be chosen as a recipient from all of the amazing groups that presented...We really hope that more pitch contest like this can take place- this is where creative ideas and projects can come to life, where groups can expose themselves to a wide and attentive audience, where people in the audience can get inspired to start up their own initiatives, and where motivated groups and individuals can get the financial support to help see their projects come to fruition.”
After winning the Pitch Contest, Manifesto also went on to secure two ArtReach grants for their Festival, and for their workshop series Know Your Craft.
Since supporting the first Festival in 2007, Manifesto has gone on to host 11 Festivals, showcasing over 1000 artists and putting over $1,000,000 into the hands of artists and young people. Talk about coming full circle.