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Meet ArtReach's 2020 Grantees!

ArtReach is very proud to announce the 29 projects that were awarded funding in our 2020 granting round! The $300,000 in annual grant funding is available thanks to ArtReach's partnership with the Toronto Arts Council - click here for more info on this partnership!

For project descriptions of previously funded groups, see our website.


Amy Wong- Healing Through the Arts $5,000

Healing Through the Arts is a mixed-media arts series for women and non-binary folks in Toronto aged 18-29 who identify as BIPOC and/ or LGBTQ+ and/ or living with mental illness. It is a registered program wherein participants will partake in workshops to continue building on healing arts practices that cultivate mindfulness, non-judgment, and resilience, specifically through mixed-media visual arts and poetry. Participants will explore expression through different mediums (ex. collage, found poetry, zines), create a piece to add to their portfolios, and gain practical tools to cultivate their mental wellness and artistry.

Art Fusion- smART (Self Care and Mixed Media ART) $5,000

smART is a six-week community arts program that combines the importance of self-care and self-expression through mixed-media art journaling. Youth participants from low-income families between the ages of 13-22 and living in East Scarborough will learn about storytelling their mental well-being through art journaling with a focus on collaging, painting, and photography. Journal entries will be posted on social media after each session to share with the community. smART will be capped with a showcase party that will involve the community and the participants’ friends and family.

At Dem- At Dem Songwriting and Song Development Workshop Series $13,000

At Dem is a culturally-driven songwriting and song development series for participants 13-18 years old. The workshop series is grounded in personal growth, self-expression and fun, and will encourage, guide and provide a safe space for participants to be comfortable enough to expand and express their creativity. The curriculum includes songwriting, storytelling, creating melodies and flows, self-expression exercises, introduction to pre- and post-production, and basic music theory and rhythm. Throughout the workshop series, participants will also gain knowledge on the music industry and how to become an independent artist.

BAM! Toronto Youth Slam- When Home Feels Like a Foreign Concept: The BAM! Publishing Program $13,500

"When Home Feels Like a Foreign Concept" The BAM! Publishing Program is a storyteller development project for youth poets throughout Toronto. The program will focus on building young spoken word artists’ talent and portfolios by providing access to workshops facilitated by a selection of professionally published poets, and the opportunity to be published in BAM's first physical and digital poetry collection, powered by Write Bloody North Publishing. Workshops will focus on writing, publishing, and business strategies to prepare youth for a professional career in the world of Canadian literature and published poetry.

Betty Belachew- Next Level Fashion and Design $10,000

Next Level Fashion and Design is a weekly, culturally-driven fashion and design workshop series for designers 18-29 interested in traditional methods of creating and using natural materials. The program will allow designers to explore African/ Caribbean traditional ways of designing to connect to ancestral knowledge and modernize traditions for today's market. Designers will gain knowledge from elders and a deeper understanding of self. The series is grounded in self-knowledge, culture, self-expression, and economic-development. The curriculum includes: pottery, sewing & pattern-making, working with plants, and weaving. Participants will gain knowledge on how to become independent artists by developing a strategic plan on selling and marketing their own products.

Blanket Program- #1Blanket Art Gala $9,946

The #1Blanket Art Gala will showcase the resilient stories of young Black women 16-29 years old and LGBTQ youth that have been sexually abused. The project will center around a photography workshop series in the Jane and Finch Community of Toronto, and culminate in a public art gala. To ensure safe engagement in our project, which includes each participant’s overall well being, our weekly sessions will be accompanied by wellness activities. Orientation for staff and volunteers prior to workshop delivery will include both first aid mental health training and an overview of arts-based evaluations.

Bonesthrown- It's Bigger Than All of Us $13,000

It’s Bigger Than All Of Us is a storytelling workshop series for young artist-leaders of colour in Scarborough (with priority to womxn, queer, and non binary folx). Participants will be empowered to use storytelling as a changemaking tool to reclaim personal narratives and transform our collective story. IBTAOU will be a space to build trust and heal our relationships to self, earth, spirit, and community, and will see Gen-Z artists mentored by Millennial artist-leaders, activating their creative potential to bring their visions and wisdom to life through writing, zine-creation, and photography. Their works will then be shared in a collective magazine

Camille Gordon- Speakers U $14,786

SpeakersU is a program designed to help young black males ages 13-29 living in Ward 3 Etobicoke-Lakeshore learn the art of oration. Participants will use the art forms of creative writing, spoken word, poetry and monologues to create their own allegorical story. Workshops will have a personal direct impact on the black experience and will address racial profiling by police. Through weekly communication and public speaking training, personal development workshops, and mentorship from alumni of the program, participants will speak before a live audience at our finale showcase event.

CUE- CUE Art Project Program 2021 $15,000

This grant would see youth artists engaged in developing projects and learning about the grant process, and enable the creation of individual art projects in multiple disciplines by new-generation artists who live and work on the margins and who face systemic barriers that preclude their contributions to culture. The program is predicated on creating high-access: we conduct group info sessions, drop-in mentorship sessions, and individual grant-writing support to ensure the anticipated art project proposals submitted are strong and viable. CUE provides support for artists during their production process, and professional presentation/ exhibition platform for all artists engaged.

Elevate Equity- The Trans Resilience Project $10,000

In partnership with Trans Lifeline, Elevate Equity positions and prioritizes art, self-expression, and storytelling as the guide towards collective healing. Through this project, Black Trans and Non-Binary young people are invited to take part in shaping and sharing their connection to ‘Trans Resiliency’. In creating a trans-affirming, trans-specific environment where racialized voices are amplified, Elevate Equity and Trans Lifeline are imagining a space unlike any other in Toronto where artists, visionaries, and creatives will unify on the intersections of identity, mental health, and peer support through artistic mediums.

Faduma Mohamed- LISTEN $10,000

LISTEN is a program that will provide a safe space for people living with a disability and siblings of a person living with a disability. Together, youth between the ages of 15-29 will bond and gain artistic skills, specifically in creative writing, spoken word poetry, and public speaking. In the final week, youth will have an opportunity to perform their work at the annual #OughtTheBox 5th Anniversary Autism Awareness showcase.

ImaginArte- REvolta $15,000

REvolta engages newcomer and immigrant Latinx youth 13-29 years of age living in the Black Creek community to explore identity, migration, movement, and visual storytelling through arts mentorship and leadership development. In this program, youth will expand their artistic and technical skills in plaster-cast mask creation and incorporate community-based education principles to facilitate workshops. This peer-to-peer learning and multi-generational mentorship program is rooted in collective care, with the aim of creating a closer dialogue between youth and children within the community.

Isfandyar Virani and Michelle Nyamekye- NExT: Newcomer Education by Theatre $10,000

NExT: Newcomer Education by Theatre is a new project by award-winning workshop and performance program, SExT: Sex Education by Theatre. The NExT project will involve training a new cohort of sexual/ mental health peer educators through workshops co-led by professional artists and youth mentor facilitators in response to community demand. NExT peer educators will showcase their learning and artistic development to local youth and stakeholders. NExT will serve the Neighborhood Improvement Areas of Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park, and be delivered in partnership with the Flemingdon Health Centre and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR).

Jheanell Lumsden- Fi Wi Voice/ "Our Voice" $9,954

Fi Wi Voice will develop the creative writing and performative skills of low income, racialized youth from the Jane and Finch community of Toronto. Participants will demonstrate such skills by writing pieces in the form of rap lyrics or spoken word, and will be able to record one of these pieces in a professional recording studio, which we will upload onto digital platforms to establish their artistry. The pieces will then be compiled into an album and the culminating event of the program will be a free showcase, whereby the participants will perform selected pieces for their friends and family.

Jonsaba Jabbi- Black Gold Archival Projects $5,000

The first project from the Black Gold Archival Projects Collective will be a podcast project on Hip Hop and the Black Experience in Canada. Our collective will engage Black youth from all over Toronto to be trained in podcasting and the history of Black rappers, producers, artists, journalists and more involved in the Canadian Hip Hop Scene from the 1980s to the 2000s. This will consist of workshops followed by recording and producing the podcast over the course of four months. Each young person will create and produce their own podcast episode interviewing one Black history-maker/ contributor in Canadian Hip Hop.

Joshua Watkis- Word is Bond Presents: Filter Through Skin $9,046

Filter Through Skin will assist Black youth poets in re-imagining their relationship to their subject matter and deconstructing Blackness as a monolith in literature. In doing so, they may relieve themselves of the burdensome expectations of communicating Blackness solely through the explanation of trauma and oppression. The project will serve Black youth poets ages 14-24 in the Weston Road, Dixon and Rexdale Communities, and be led by spoken word artist and arts educator Joshua Watkis (aka Scribe).

Jules Vodarek Hunter and Morgan Davis- Fat Fables $8,550

Fat Fables is a creation project for writers and performers who identify as LGBTQ2SIA+ and fat. Participants will meet regularly to develop skills in theatre creation, performance, and writing, drawing on socially engaged artistic forms including oral history, drag performance, spoken word and more. Through our shared weekly meals and workshops, participants will develop deep connections and build community. The program will culminate in a performance that includes a community conversation. The project will be led by Morgan, who identifies as black, fat, queer, trans, and youth and Jules who identifies as white, fat, queer, gender-questioning and youth, as well as guest artists.

Karla Villanueva Danan- Pathways to Decent Work in Film and Television for Young

Women and Non-Binary Youth of Philippine Descent $10,000

Pathways to Decent Work in Film and Television for young women and non-binary youth of Philippine descent is a program that will convene a cohort of creatives who have existing narrative digital projects in development. The program will offer four core learning modules: workshops on elevating storytelling skills and writers' room etiquette and leadership; an immersive writers' room intensive to develop each participants' in-progress script; a public reading; and workshops supporting industry readiness of participants in preparation for a real industry pitch or submission opportunity with a network, festival or subsequent development program.

Patrick Walters- Under The Banyan Tree $12,950

Under the Banyan Tree is the third iteration of this Caribbean literary art and storytelling program led by Patrick Walters. This latest version of the program will provide workshop sessions in the North Etobicoke Ward 1 neighbourhood at Beaumonde Heights Junior Middle School. Grade 8 students will be invited to register for the program, which infuses elements of visual and literary art to explore the Caribbean artists and culture that have greatly informed our lived experiences here in Toronto. The program will culminate with a collaborative art installment for the community.

Pretty Wings TO- Pretty Wings: STAGES $15,000

Pretty Wings: STAGES is a program for female-identifying youth who are part of the BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIAP+, or mental health communities interested in pursuing dance as a creative outlet or career. Through this program, youth 18-29 years old in the GTA will be mentored by established youth artists; taking part in workshops to co-create a collective dance-theatre piece on a topic of their choice. Participants will also be selected to receive one-on-one training and will create a solo piece reflective of an aspect of their lived experience. The program will empower participants through storytelling, and introduce healing through authentic movement and performance.

Project 40 Collective- Diasporasian Futures II $15,000

Diasporasian Futures is an incubator interested in radical and speculative possibilities for the pan-Asian arts community. Featuring two streams: art- making (text, film, image, tactile) and space-making (arts programming and management), each stream will take 4 individuals/ groups and offer intensives, strategy sessions, mentorship, presentation opportunities, designated studio time, and guest speakers. The incubator will culminate in a two-day exhibition, featuring the work of participants, allowing them to apply their learning and creative explorations tangibly toward a showcase event.

Silverfish Magazine- The Silverfish Artist and Writer Program $5,000

The Silverfish Artist and Writer Program is an interdisciplinary arts workshop series focused on cultivating ongoing relationships between emerging contemporary artists and art writers in Toronto. Six chosen participants (3 artists and 3 writers) will engage in a program focused on developing their practices through skill-sharing and interdisciplinary collaboration. This rendition of the program will culminate in the production of a publication showcasing the works produced, and engage thematics around cyborg bodies and futures. The Silverfish Artist and Writer Program provides meaningful paid publication opportunities to young emerging writers and artists, particularly those within the LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC communities.

Tamil Archive Project- Cooked Until Tender $10,000

Cooked Until Tender will provide mental health support for racialized male identified youth 18-29 years old in Ward 21 through the culinary arts. It will provide participants with cooking skills, discussions, and space for young male-identifying youth to speak on their personal challenges with mental health, masculinity, and more. The project will provide cooking lessons as the conduit to support the youth with an all-male support system, life skills, to practice mindfulness, and provide positively towards their mental health.

Taysean Wilson-Nolan- Masterpiece $5,000

Masterpiece is a project that will support participants develop the skills needed to create content through media arts. The participants will study media artistry and develop their skills through hands-on activities. They will have the opportunity to work with professional equipment and industry-level software by Adobe to create graphic designs, modify photographs, and produce videos. Finally, the participants will be taught how to make a secure website to showcase their content on a professional and personalized platform.

The People's Youth Film Program- The People's Youth Film Program $9,996

This project is a guerilla-film production, film theory and media literacy program, geared towards racialized/ underserved youth operating within an anti-oppressive framework. Taught by two award-winning filmmakers and graduates of Sheridan’s Bachelor Film and TV Production program, we aim to show youth how to produce industry-standard films and scripts within their own means. We will be teaching every aspect of film, including writing, cinematography, production, directing, acting, picture editing, sound editing, colour grading, and correction with an emphasis on narrative so youth will learn how to tell their own stories their way, taking obstacles, and turning them into parts of their style.

Toolbox Initiative- Toolbox Studio Projects $10,000

Toolbox Initiative is a community arts organization that teaches youth in the east Scarborough area woodworking and electronics skills through arts programming. Participating youth will design and create various independent projects that explore sound, kinetics, and sculpture. Toolbox programming focuses on specific projects over a series of sessions, building on skills learned in the previous session. Projects allow participating youth to develop practical trades skills while being able to incorporate creative expression.

Ayrah Taerb- Intro to 8 Steps: An Embodiment Intensive $9,866

Intro to 8 Steps is an Intensive designed to introduce movement practitioners to an 8 Step Methodology that is transferable to the arenas of movement creation, embodiment, crisis intervention, and conflict navigation. While traditionally holding a Kung Fu dominant focus, funding for this project will encourage the focus of facilitation to expand, including the movement practices of Essene Yoga and Zahyen; a Holistic Martial Art used to prime to body for Natural Pilgrimages and Evasive Combat. Through self-directed explorations of these three embodiment practices, participants will be provided opportunities to expand the scope of their own movement practice.

Tyler J Sloane- It's All Queer Pride $9,998

It's All Queer Pride is a two-part performance program that seeks to build LGBTQIAP+ participants with the skills for act-development and career development as solo performers. The first part of the program, It's All A DRAG, will teach skills in burlesque, drag, production, costuming, makeup, and wigs, while the second part of the program, It's All the Essentials, will support the career development of participants through performance training, marketing, makeup 201, costuming 201, and stage hosting. Participants will be mentored by a lead facilitator and 12 guest facilitators who are active performers within the Toronto LGBTQIA+ community.

Varna Media Management- The IAM Project 2.OH $10,408

The IAM Project 2.OH offers unique learning opportunities for youth creators from the Lawrence Heights and St. James Town neighbourhoods of Toronto. The Program will provide underserved youth with a hands-on learning environment, covering a number of departments involved in making a short film and exposing them to basic components of filmmaking and video editing. Our goal is to foster youths’ creative needs and provide them with the skills and knowledge to continue to express themselves after the project. The project will cover the basis of using cameras, proper lighting, sound and digital editing.


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