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Welcome to our Community Blog

We invite you to read about and contribute to what’s going on in community-engaged arts and arts for social change initiatives across Canada. We post what people submit to us as well as "all things community-engaged arts" that we find out about. ArtBridges/ToilesDesArts shares all kinds of information:
  • Conferences, workshops, training, seminars, education
  • Events
  • Arts awards, funding and grant opportunities
  • Tools, tips, ideas & updates, project highlights, resources (including books & reports)
  • Inspiring stories
  • Introductions to community-arts initiatives

Send us your story, your tip, your announcement or your opportunity – all community-engaged arts information that others would enjoy learning about.

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  • We post what people contribute in their own words.
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StArt YPA Presents Breaking Bread Reception (Scarborough)

StArt Youth Presenting Art invites you to attend its second annual Breaking Bread Reception, which will be held Friday, August 18th, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Scarborough Village Recreation Centre, 3600 Kingston Rd., Scarborough Ontario, M1M 1R9.

The evening will open with the Breaking Bread reception, followed by performances from some of Scarborough’s emerging artists. The Breaking Bread Reception is an interactive community night in celebration of the diverse cultures that comprise the Scarborough community. StArt YPA invites you to join us, to meet and know more about our neighbours through food, storytelling and build community relations. Join us at the Breaking Bread Reception, 2017 and indulge in samples of selected breads with delectable side dishes, celebrating Scarborough’s diverse community!”

-submitted by StArt YPA & SuiteLife Arts for Youth
Read SuiteLife Arts for Youth’s profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

Hors Piste : Cirque et mixité sociale au coeur du village (Montréal)

“L’événement Hors Piste vous invite à sortir des sentiers battus et à venir vivre l’ambiance des rues du 19e siècle. Le samedi 15 juillet, dès midi et jusqu’à 20h, rejoignez nous pour un happening participatif gratuit pour tous : cirque de rue, animations interactives et musique de rue seront au rendez-vous.”

source : Cirque Hors Piste
Lire le profil de Cirque Hors Piste dans notre répertoire et carte de l’art communautaire au Canada

Theatre for Action Workshops for July! (Mixed Company Theatre, Toronto)

Mixed Company Theatre is bringing back their popular Forum Theatre workshops this July! Theatre for Action is our week-long series of intensive workshops conducted by renowned Forum Theatre creator and Mixed Company Theatre Artistic Director Simon Malbogat.

Forum Theatre give communities the agency to develop their own grassroots solutions and the ability to envision the positive outcomes of inspiring social change. The techniques of Forum Theatre facilitation are transferable to a wide range of community engagement arts initiatives. Theatre for Action participants will receive the skills to become better facilitators, artists, community leaders, and more socially-aware educators.

For more information, including workshop descriptions, please visit: http://www.mixedcompanytheatre.com/artists/training/

-from Mixed Company Theatre
Read Mixed Company Theatre’s profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

Evaluation and Report Writing Workshop (ArtReach Toronto)

“Evaluation and Report Writing Workshop
27 June 2017 (NEXT TUESDAY!)

Are you running an ArtReach or other community based project or program in your community? Do you want to better understand the reasons for and basics of evaluating your program? Wondering about the best ways to plan your evaluation activities to generate statistics and feedback about the effectiveness and success of your work? Want tips on how to write a great report?

Evaluation is an important, but sometimes overlooked part of our work in communities. Surveys, stories, art-based activities, and statistics are just some of the powerful evaluation tools we can use to measure the impacts of what we do. Used correctly, they demonstrate the benefits of our work to our communities, funders, and donors and help us better shape our programs into the future.

In this interactive workshop we will examine the process of evaluation and report writing using live case study examples of real community, youth-led projects. The workshop will explore creative strategies and tools for collecting the right data and sharing it with others and also demonstrate step by step how to use them to develop an evaluation plan through the live case studies.

Workshop participants will look into different ways of measuring the impacts and successes of their own programs using strategies which include theory of change, and using outcomes, outputs and indicators, all while learning to create effective evaluation tools.

Finally participants will be taken step by step through the report writing process using the ArtReach final report template as a guideline.

Due to the nature of interactive activities that participants will be taking part in, this workshop is ideal for ArtReach Grantees preparing for final reports or other individuals who are currently working on community-based projects who want to know more about evaluation and report writing.

FACILITATOR
Fiona Scott- independent research and evaluation consultant
DETAILS
Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Location: Scarborough Civic Centre// 150 Borough Drive, Scarborough // Committee Room #1
Time: Registration & food at 6:00pm; workshop start time is 6:30pm
RSVP: HERE
Note: This workshop is open to youth (13 to 29 yrs). Space for this workshop is limited so register today! Food and refreshments will be provided.

-from ArtReach’s newsletter
Read ArtReach’s profile in ArtBridges’ Community-engaged Arts Directory & Map

Talking Treaties Spectacle & Under the Concrete (Touching Ground Festival)

Talking Treaties is a participatory multi-arts project, with the goal of artfully sharing local Indigenous knowledge and awareness. Talking Treaties engaged over 300 participants in its research and development, generating symbols, poetry, and expressive maps, which have influenced and are now featured as content in the production. This project strives to expand meaning, knowledge, and personal relationships to encompass the historical and contemporary responsibilities we share as treaty people.

Talking Treaties Spectacle
A large-scale immersive performance and installation, bringing together professional and community performers.

Under the Concrete
A choral reflection on our themes of history, questioning, learning and acknowledging for all of who now live on this land.

Times:
Friday, June 23, 6:30 pm
Saturday, June 24, 12-6 pm (installation only)
Sunday, June 25, 5 pm”

For more information about the Touching Ground Festival including the full festival schedule, please visit touchinggroundfestival.ca

-submitted by Jumblies Theatre
Read Jumblies’ Profile on ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory & Map

DAREarts Attawapiskat 2017 Song: We are the People & Reflection: artist-educator

The following post originally appears in DAREarts blog and has been reposted with DAREarts’ permission. Special thanks to DAREarts for sharing this piece with us and for inviting ArtBridges to participate. For more information on DAREarts, please visit DAREarts.com 

Written by DAREarts artist-educator Glenn Marais.

“DAREarts came to the community of Attawapiskat to hear a story about the original Bear Clan from a knowledge keeper, John Matthews, and to take that story and create a film, visual art, a song and a slideshow of pictures to accompany the music. We worked for three days, two seventy five minute periods, with the high school students on a very condensed schedule, including two evenings and one day after school.  What happened was incredible as the students and teachers came together and worked in the spirit of true partnership to create a stunning and moving cinematic interpretation of the story, with original music created by them and a powerful and moving song that expressed the story of their lives and their love of the land.

The sun sets late in Attawapiskat. At 10:00 O’clock it starts to go down and the night sky comes out, crystal clear constellations arcing across the stratosphere, a sailor’s map, starry legends over a world that sleeps but does not rest.  It rises early, breaking the horizon with a brilliant northern radiance illuminating the dusty streets and weathered roofs of the reserve.  The homes are falling apart after the tyranny of the long, cold winter and the morning sounds of rumbling trucks and nails being driven, blend into the chaotic orchestra of a community waking and beginning to move through the day. Its sounds are just like any other town or community coming to life with the promise of the morning. Only here, it is less about promise than survival. There is a magnificent white Catholic church, tall and majestic by the water with stained glass windows that tell the history of the people and whispers of apologies for past wrongs.  Truths have yet to come and apologies given for Residential schools and that is part of the healing that must happen. It is part of a history long buried, that has been disturbed, opened and left like a forgotten graveyard.

Today’s youth live within the reality of the schools ignoble past.  In the shadow of their parents haunted memories, they struggle to burst free and find the glorious sun that shines so long in the summer and hibernates in the winter. Yesterday, one of the high school students walked and talked with us and her words were true, direct and honest, filled with a piercing, unabated intelligence that captivated and charmed us and as she ascended the wooden stairs that are ubiquitous in this community, slowly opening the door to her home that rested in a state of decay, my heart broke for her and I felt ashamed because my feelings seem powerless to help her.

The name reserve fails to describe the pulsing heart of this community.  What a shallow name for a community of people.  We name things in this world for convenience of categorization and to displace the fact that we have committed wrongs. A dressed up wound still bleeds despite our arrogant nature and human nature is arrogant, particularly when it vaunts it’s self as civilized and tromps over anything that doesn’t fit inside it’s neat, tight lineage. The reserve isn’t a dumping ground for an inconvenient culture.  It is a living breathing community that celebrates and mourns, dances and shuffles, sings and cries like any other.  When you fly into a northern community, the sheer beauty of it is staggering.  Hundreds of pristine lakes and rivers dot the landscape of silty islands, whose fish laden waters and abundant wildlife enrich the land. The land is the mother and the connection runs deep, through memories, and stories of creation, and growth with 44 clans coming from the original clan bear clan.  An ancient system of identification and relationship to the animal world that kept the bloodlines as pure as the waters that surround this island community.  The name Attawapiskat means, “People of the parting of the rocks” and it is an island of many created by the surge of the mighty Attawapiskat river, where the people live in harmony with great respect for nature and the balance of life.

This land is much more than its surface appearance of dirt, dusty roads and broken homes. It has the pulse of the Earth mother and connects the people in ways we can’t begin to imagine. We look at land as possession, here it is the heartbeat of a world that is interdependent, with everything flowing and weaving in and out of a glorious kaleidoscopic tapestry that bedazzles the eyes and stirs the soul. It is the sound of a motorboat powering a launch into the rising sun, the crack of a rifle across a winter plain, bringing home food to a family during the cold winter season, and it is the cry of the pow wow singer whose voice is the sound of the elders echoing through the universe. What great spirit inhabits this land and what wonders await if we can learn to walk in humble shoes and beside our First Nations people.

I have heard people say we should remove them from the reserve and integrate them into society as if the “them” in this conversation are inanimate beings that we can move on some self-righteous chessboard. What about a question? How can we work with you to make things better for you? Where can we begin and sit down with you as brothers and sisters in a circle and come to an understanding and a reckoning of our true history, so that we can move forward together, like the two rows on the Iroquois Wampum belt, in a peaceful union? I don’t dream of such things, I speak of them and when I play my guitar and sing and drum, I sing to the heavens, the Earth, my family and my promise, to never stop until things change.  For now, I walk these dusty roads with my eyes, ears and heart open and look always forward to the sun, moon and stars, just like the words in the song that we wrote together:

“We are the sun, moon and stars, we are the trees
All around us, is everything we need
Everything we need is all around”

We live in an abundant world, made shallow by greed, and in this great land of broken promise and faded dreams are the glittering embers of a glorious past that knew, everything we needed was around us and not to take more than we needed. I heard a story on this trip from a noble young man of great character from Attawapiskat, who told us of being pursued by a wolf, when his skidoo broke down.  He told us how he shot around the wolf to scare him off and kept doing this even as the wolf closed in on him.  A man of lesser character would have killed the wolf.  He did not. This is the character of a man cast in iron and made of blood and bone who taught me so much with the simple power of his story.  Our life is meant to be lived in the teachings, with humility and wisdom with respect for ourselves and the world, with courage in the face of danger, so that we will lead with love and honesty, and in that way come to know our truth. To know the teachings of the grandfathers is easy, to live them is hard. Thank you my young friend for a life well lived and lessons well taught.


To read an overview of DAREarts’ week in Attawapiskat, click here.

DAREarts is a charity that empowers young at-risk Canadians aged 9 to 19 to ignite change as leaders. Visit darearts.com to learn more. DAREarts ‘First Roots’ program partners with First Nations to work alongside youths, local artists and elders and, together, address challenges such as school absenteeism, hopelessness and suicide.

PROJECT SUPPORTERS: Province of Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport; Ontario150; Northbridge Insurance; Anne Livingston; David & Teresa Thomas; Noront Resources; The Paul Semple Award; Allan Drive Middle School”

-posted with permission from DAREarts, read the original post here
Read DAREarts’ profile on ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

DAREarts in Attawapiskat: “Our Stories are a Part of Us”

The following post originally appears in DAREarts blog and has been reposted with DAREarts’ permission. Special thanks to DAREarts for sharing this piece with us and for inviting ArtBridges to participate. For more information on DAREarts, please visit DAREarts.com 

“In June 2017, DAREarts returned to Attawapiskat FN for a week of empowering workshops that helped many youth discover their voices and inner leadership. DAREarts workshops are facilitated by DAREarts artist-educators in partnership with the community. 

The first of our team to arrive in Attawapiskat FN was DAREarts artist-educator and cinematographer Peter Elliott, who met with the grade 7s of Kattawapiskak Elementary School on Friday to introduce them to DAREarts and the art of filmmaking. The class watched several short films created by other DAREarts First Nations youth. Peter then dared the class to take a big risk without being afraid of failure: they were going to create their own short film in just ONE day! In groups, the class ventured out onto the school grounds armed with cameras and creativity, capturing a variety of different angles and shots. Peter then used this footage, along with stock footage of an alligator, to bring their hilarious creation to life as “Attawapigator”. When they saw their video it was a raging success, and they asked for an encore viewing. Despite many of the students being quiet and shy, they were now ready to take on more DAREarts!

DAREarts Lead Teacher Laura MacKinnon, DAREarts artist-educator and musician Glenn Marais, and ArtBridges’ Seanna Connell arrived over the weekend to join Peter. The team met the grade 9 class at Vezina Secondary School on Monday morning, and after a creative introduction the class welcomed knowledge keeper John Matthews. He captivated the students with a story of the first clan, the Bear Clan, offering the youths inspiration for the week ahead. In the afternoon the team met the grade 12 class and repeated their introductions, and John Matthews returned to share the story with them as well. Both classes were invited to work with the team in the evenings throughout the week. The first evening had a small turnout, but was massively productive! Colin arrived first, spending the evening making beats on the keyboard with Glenn, brainstorming lyrics with Laura, and learning to use the video camera with Peter. Tyler then arrived, making a beeline for Glenn who worked with him to compose a whole melody on the keyboard. Chandler and Jamie were the last to arrive, working with Laura and Seanna to capture footage and write the film’s plot.

Tuesday was fast-paced, with the class formed into two groups: the Musicians and the Film Crew. The musicians worked with Glenn and Laura on the verses for their song and created music for their short film, while the film crew started casting and shooting their first scene with Peter and Seanna. A few of the youths were hanging back, but they took action when given the roles of assistant director, set photographer, and editor. In the evening, youths Keenan, Colin, and Jack Jr. (who is also a DAREarts Leadership Award recipient) arrived right away. Keenan worked with Glenn and Jack Jr. to record two rap verses he had written during the day, and Colin was joined by another arriving youth, Chandler, to go out and film using the shot list.

On Wednesday, another group was created: Visual Artists! Throughout the day, the musicians finished writing the chorus of their song and prepared introductory music for the film score. One youth, Ambrose, skillfully layered different notes and sounds to add the finishing touches to the chorus. The film crew worked on several group shot scenes in the teepee frame near the school, with youth Jade working as our set photographer. The visual artists created chalk pastel drawings of bears that were integrated into the film using green screen. In the evening, several youths met to record parts of the song, and Jack Jr. offered to narrate the film. Colin acted as audio engineer, Syvanna sang the chorus, Jack Jr. sang and recorded a traditional hand drum song, and Tyler rapped to add a powerful end to the track.

Thursday was a special Culture Days celebration at the school, so our team spent the day preparing the materials the youths had created. On Friday afternoon, everyone was welcomed to a special feast at the school that celebrated both the traditional Culture Days activities and the youths’ accomplishments with DAREarts. The feast began with a prayer and then everyone ate, enjoying many local delights. Once finished, they squeezed into teacher Mandy Alves’s classroom to screen the youths’ film, “Bear Clan”, and a slideshow music video created using their song and photography. There was laughter and joy all around! The students and audience squished together for a group photo before saying their goodbyes for the night.  It was the perfect end to a very special week, and the youths were so proud to bring smiles to the faces of their elders, teachers, families, and community members.


To read artist-educator Glenn Marais’s reflection, click here.

DAREarts is a charity that empowers young at-risk Canadians aged 9 to 19 to ignite change as leaders.  Visit darearts.com to learn more. DAREarts ‘First Roots’ program partners with First Nations to work alongside youths, local artists and elders and, together, address challenges such as school absenteeism, hopelessness and suicide.

PROJECT SUPPORTERS: Province of Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport; Ontario150; Northbridge Insurance; Anne Livingston; David & Teresa Thomas; Noront Resources; The Paul Semple Award; Allan Drive Middle School”

-posted with permission from DAREarts, read the original post here
Read DAREarts’ profile on ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

Profile Highlight: Koffler Centre of the Arts – community arts projects (Toronto)

As ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory grows, we realize that it’s a bit overwhelming to read through all of the profiles. We’re hoping that by occasionally highlighting some profiles on our blog, you may learn about an initiative that you may not have initially seen in the directory. Also, if you know of a Canadian community-engaged arts for social change initiative that isn’t in our directory, but should be, please let us know! We love and need your input/feedback in building this resource! -Lisa, Content Coordinator at ArtBridges.

The Koffler Centre of the Arts is a “cultural platform that engages audiences of all ages and backgrounds in a vibrant dialogue exploring critical ideas and concerns of our time.

As a Jewish organization, we value – and aim to foster – social justice, equality and inclusiveness while nurturing a passion for learning and understanding. We position Jewish identity in conversation with diverse perspectives and global voices to examine complex issues in a respectful, constructive way. We accomplish this through exhibitions, performances, discussions, publications and digital initiatives.

These principles support the Koffler’s engagement with the best contemporary creative minds in producing and presenting art that provides common ground for experiences shaping our shared cultural life and defining our social values.”

To read more about Koffler Centre of the Arts, please see their profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

Profile Highlight: Hamilton Youth Poets

As ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory grows, we realize that it’s a bit overwhelming to read through all of the profiles. We’re hoping that by occasionally highlighting some profiles on our blog, you may learn about an initiative that you may not have initially seen in the directory. Also, if you know of a Canadian community-engaged arts for social change initiative that isn’t in our directory, but should be, please let us know! We love and need your input/feedback in building this resource! -Lisa, Content Coordinator at ArtBridges.

Hamilton Youth Poets (HYP) was “created in 2012 to give the Hamilton community’s youth the opportunity to develop their creative skills and have their voices heard. HYP has grown into a community hub centered around literacy and evolved into an arts organization that engages Hamilton youth in the act of telling and celebrating their own, authentic stories through year-round programming in spoken word, verse, multimedia, and new age journalism. The work is celebrated every spring in an awe inspiring culmination through the annual youth hip-hop poetry festival, Louder Than A Bomb Canada (LTABC), which brings together communities in a communal, barrier-breaking celebration of our differences.”

To read more about Hamilton Youth Poets, please see their profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

FemFest 2017: Coming of Age (Sarasvàti Productions, Winnipeg)


FemFest 2017: Coming of Age – Celebrating 15 Years!

“In 2003 Chicago was dominating film awards, George W. Bush was leading the charge in Iraq, America’s Next Top Model premiered on television and FemFest was launched. This year we celebrate FemFest entering a new phase with FemFest 2017: Coming of Age, running from September 16 to 23. The 15th annual festival featuring powerful plays by women for everyone, will take over the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film for eight days of exciting performances. This year will also feature a special performance from an award-winning author at the West End Cultural Centre and a special interactive experience at the Millennium Library.

This year’s theme revolves around coming in to one’s own – growing up, maturing and accepting oneself. FemFest 2017 will take audiences through an empowering journey as they explore how we move forward as individuals and as a community. We are excited to announce the touring shows and guest artists who will be in Winnipeg for FemFest 2017:

Judith Thompson is one of Canada’s most celebrated and prolific playwrights. Her visit to FemFest in 2012 was profound for the writers who worked with her and audiences who heard her speak. To celebrate 15 years FemFest wanted to bring back Canada’s top female playwright.

Watching Glory Die – Produced by Mulgrave Road Theatre (Guysborough, NS): In order to truly explore the craft of our guest artist we are excited to welcome this powerful play by Judith Thompson from an East Coast Company with a long history of producing compelling work. The script was inspired by the true story of New Brunswick teen Ashley Smith. Deliberately fictionalized, a riveting and deeply compassionate portrait of three women – Glory, incarcerated for minor offences at age 14; Rosellen, the girl’s adoptive mother desperately trying to remain connected to her daughter; Gail, a prison guard, walking the line between her ‘orders’ and her conscience.

Tomboy Survival Guide – Written and Performed by award-winning author Ivan Coyote (Vancouver, B.C.): Tomboy Survival Guide is the music and story-driven collaboration of award-winning writer and storyteller Ivan Coyote, the hummingbird high-energied drummer and percussionist Sal Zori, the mellifluous baselines of Pebbles Willekes, and the subtle and graceful tinkerings of trumpet player Alison Gorman. FemFest is excited to partner with the West End Cultural Centre for the first time to present this unique concert experience. Ivan Coyote will also be doing a special lecture and reading from his books for queer youth as part of the festival.

FemFest 2017 will also include the Winnipeg premiere of Two Indians by Toronto playwright, Falen Johnson. After years apart two cousins meet in a Toronto alley to recreate a ceremony from their childhood, but can they remember how? When the words missing and murdered, truth and reconciliation, occupation and resistance are everywhere, how do two Mohawk women stand their ground? The piece will mark the stage directorial debut of Sonya Ballantyne, rising Indigenous film-maker. Of course the festival will continue to offer our Bake-Off playwriting competition; readings of new works in development; and an opening cabaret featuring fantastic female artists in music, theatre and film.

FemFest runs from September 16-23, 2017 at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at the University of Winnipeg, 400 Colony Street). Tickets are $15-$20 for single shows and a full festival pass is available for $50. FemFest welcomes all audience members to join the celebration of female artists and enjoy the local and national art scene. For more information visit our website: www.femfest.ca.

About Sarasvàti Productions: Founded in Winnipeg in 2000, we seek to inspire artists and audiences through the use of theatre and to provide a place where artists can develop, showcase their skills and celebrate their creativity. FemFest has been up and kicking since 2003 and to date has showcased hundreds of artists!”

-submitted by Sarasvàti Productions
Read Sarasvàti Productions’ profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map.