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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

La Toile des Arts attise les curiosités outre Atlantique

La Toile des Arts se concentre exclusivement sur l’art communautaire et l’art pour le changement social au Canada.
De temps à autres cependant, notre mission et les histoires que nous partageons ont un rayonnement bien plus vaste que nous l’imaginons, et nous nous retrouvons sur le site du Conseil des Arts de Singapour par exemple, ou une histoire que nous partageons se retrouve “re-tweetée” à des milliers de personnes par un rappeur en Floride! C’est l’avantage d’avoir une presence sur le Web, et c’est aussi grâce à des moments comme ceux-ci que la Toile des Arts permet de mesure son impact et rayonnement a l’international.

Il y a quelques semaines, c’est avec surprise et plaisir que nous avons reçu un message d’une réalisatrice française, ayant découvert notre travail sur les réseaux sociaux et souhaitant partager avec nous un projet d’art communautaire sur lequel elle a travaillé à Marseille, dans le sud de la France. Nous avons décidé de faire une exception et de partager son très beau projet sur notre réseau. Il est toujours intéressant de découvrir comment l’art communautaire et l’art pour le changement se développe dans d’autres pays, et plaisant de savoir que le travail de la Toile des Arts inspire des gens au dela de nos frontières.

“Des Petits Princes” à la Compagnie du Silène

En 2014, une jeune réalisatrice marseillaise, Rejanne Avazeri, a filmé les ateliers de la Compagnie du Silène et plus particulièrement le travail réalisé par la psychologue et artiste Nelly Vignal auprès de jeunes handicapés faisant du théâtre avec des jeunes ne souffrant pas de handicap. Le documentaire “Des petits princes” presente ce merveilleux travail et le pouvoir de l’art comme outil de changement social, d’intégration et de dépassement de soi. Le film a été sélectionné au festival 2015 Cinéma et Handicap.


Pour regarder le documentaire, cliquez ici.

Entretien avec Nelly, animatrice des ateliers

J’ai contacté Nelly afin de lui poser quelques questions sur sa démarche; voici les propos que j’ai recueilli:

Catherine : Est-ce un atelier que vous menez chaque année à Marseille ? Depuis combien de temps ? Combien de jeunes y participent ?

Nelly: Oui, les ateliers suivent la saison théâtrale, de septembre à Juin, ils se terminent par la mise en place d’un spectacle collectif joué dans un théâtre. J’anime ces ateliers depuis 3 ans. L’effectif varie chaque année, il dépend du nombre d’enfants handicapés et des possibilités d’inclusion dans un groupe d’enfants non handicapés. Je suis parfois obligée de faire deux groupes de 5 jeunes, parfois il m’est possible de garder un groupe de 10 jeunes ensembles. Cela dépend également de la nature de l’handicap des enfants. Je prends l’entière responsabilité du « Mixage » et je travaille seule, sans animateur ou éducateur à mes côtés donc je dois être particulièrement attentive aux capacités d’inclusion et à l’évolution des enfants porteurs d’un handicap dans un un groupe d’enfants non handicapés. Certaines années, l’inclusion est impossible ou doit se faire sur la durée donc j’anime les groupes de manière distincte. Mes groupes, en général ne dépassent pas 10 enfants.

Catherine: Obtenez-vous des subventions ?

Nelly: Pour l’instant je n’ai fait aucune demande de subvention car je souhaitais me consacrer à la mise en place d’une méthode de travail sérieuse et approfondie. Cela m’a pris du temps et me demande d’évoluer et de me former moi-même à différentes techniques, corporelles notamment, en plus de mes bagages d’artiste et de Psychologue. C’est un travail assez atypique, qui, dans ma région n’est pas très répandu et je dirais même que la France, de manière générale peine à évoluer vers une prise en charge différente, moderne et pluridisciplinaire des jeunes handicapés. Cette année, une partie de mes objectifs sera consacrée à la recherche de fonds car j’estime être arrivée à un travail aboutit.

Catherine: Pouvez-vous partager des difficultés auxquelles vous avez fait face dans le cadre de ce projet ?

Nelly: Les difficultés tiennent à l’idée même de mélanger des jeunes handicapés à des jeunes qui ne le sont pas. L’handicap, en France, malgré le travail de nombreuse associations, continu d’être synonyme d’exclusion. Exclusion sociale et professionnelle car la société en place ne tient pas compte des différences de chacun et s’est bâtit sur un modèle unique. Les enfants et les familles qui s’inscrivent dans mes ateliers, sont donc tout naturellement conditionnés par cette « éducation » sociale. C’est compliqué et c’est long de défaire ces conventions pour en tisser d’autres. Sur la fiche d’inscription que les parents doivent remplir en début de saison, j’indique, dès les premières phrases, que cet atelier est ouvert à TOUS les enfants et jeunes adultes, que l’objectif premier de la Compagnie est de lutter contre l’exclusion liée aux différences et que, par conséquent, leurs enfants peuvent travailler avec des enfants handicapés. Voilà, après, c’est la grande aventure… Et les difficultés, au début, sont quotidiennes, parce-que les enfants « normaux » ne savent pas toujours comment interagir avec les enfants différents. En milieu d’année, il y a souvent un déclic, ils apprennent à se connaître, les craintes se dissipent franchement et en fin d’année, tout roule 🙂 Il y a aussi des familles et des enfants qui n’arrivent pas à s’adapter et qui quittent l’atelier en cours d’année ou qui n’inscrivent pas leurs enfants, du fait de cette spécificité. Parfois l’inclusion ne fonctionne pas, c’est important de le souligner aussi parce-que c’est un travail réel, qui ne repose pas sur le fantasme que nous pouvons ressentir parfois quand nous abordons ce thème d’inclusion.

Catherine: Pouvez-vous citer quelques exemples de moments de réussite, de satisfaction vous permettant de mesurer votre impact positif?

Nelly: Tous les jours ! Les voir progresser et travailler ensemble, je ne me fixe pas d’autres objectifs car, pour toutes les raisons citées ci-dessus, c’est déjà beaucoup. Néanmoins, je n’oublie pas mon enseignement artistique et la raison pour laquelle ils sont tous ici au théâtre, l’apprentissage du jeu et de l’interprétation. Cet objectif commun et la perspective de donner un spectacle au public nous rassemble et efface les différences au fur et à mesure, la plupart du temps. L’impact positif, c’est de pouvoir changer les mentalités par une meilleure compréhension et acceptation des différences. Je n’ai pas la prétention d’y parvenir, je ne suis pas dans la tête de mes élèves et je ne sais pas quel chemin de vie ils choisiront mais j’ai la sensation de faire « ma part » du travail pour qu’ils perçoivent les choses autrement dans le rapport aux autres. Leur fidélité et l’entraide que j’observe chaque année, me font dire que ce travail opère… Pour les jeunes handicapés, de manière plus spécifique, je suis intimement persuadé de l’efficacité du théâtre comme outil thérapeutique, parfois, les progrès sont fulgurants et je n’ai encore jamais vu un élève dont les capacités sociales, affectives ou de communication et d’interaction n’évoluent pas vers un « mieux ».

(propos recueillis par courriel)

La Toile des Arts souhaite une bonne continuation à la compagnie du Silène et espère que le documentaire permettra d’inspirer d’autres collectifs à se lancer dans des projets semblables, au bénéfice de leurs communautés.

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crédit photo: La Compagnie du Silène

-entrée blog rédigée et propos recueillis par Catherine Lamaison.

Social Circus in Calgary: In Conversation with Green Fools’ Dean Bareham

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Green Fools is a Calgary-based nonprofit involved in creating theatre, producing shows, touring, providing animation at festivals, and running a social circus program. I recently met up with with Co-Artistic Director Dean Bareham to learn more about Green Fools and their involvement in social circus. -Skye Louis, ArtBridges Info Resource Developer

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Green Fools Theatre Co-Artistic Director, Dean Bareham

How is Green Fools involved in social circus?

The social circus program was inspired by the work of Neal Rempel, who is involved with the Children’s Festival in Winnipeg. The Social Circus program at Green Fools started out with visits to communities in rural Alberta and BC, and now it is growing within the city. Green Fools now runs about 14 circus camps, in partnership with a number of community organizations across Calgary. Partners and/or funders include Calgary Foundation, Canada Council, Cirque de Soleil, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, Calgary Police Service, and others. Cirque de
Soleil has been a great support, offering advice and acting as a fundraising partner.

What is Social Circus All About at Green Fools?

Social circus builds group dynamics, being a team player in a noncompetitive way – the sports model doesn’t work for all everyone. Circus is physically good for them, mentally good for them – it’s about meeting expectations, challenging themselves, exceeding expectations. And then it allows the kids to create friendships and that kind of dynamic. We bring in Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, forum theatre. We did a show up in the arctic about bullying – breaking down what it is, its causes and effects – and then we worked that into a circus show.”


(View video)

“We work with performers from all over. We focus on notions of group dynamic, mutual respect. Always starting and ending in a circle. Inclusion – everyone is included – find a style for every kid. Trapeze might not be for everyone but we have other options. There are aspects of clown, miming. We incorporate elements of hip hop, lyricism, dance, expression. Then we start to do more discussion-based group dynamic work to build more material. Circus skills are a vehicle for dealing with more important kinds of discussion.

Social Circus is a way of approaching these topics. What we do is a fusion of circus arts and social intervention. Has to be instilled with the notion of fun. there’s inherent learning in the process that they don’t even know is happening: respect for each other, safety, supporting each other. There’s room for creative expression. Developing self-esteem and social skills through circus. We’re not trying to create a professional circus show – this is a process that leads us to a shared experience. The final presentation is the icing on the cake. The outcome tends to be something they’re not aware of throughout the process – oh, I’ve made friends, I’ve challenged myself, I have motivation to do something. Allowing for own personal growth, establish the niche that works for them – magic, circus, etc.

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What’s coming up for Green Fools?

Currently we are up in northern BC teaching Social Circus in several communities. We are in production for our upcoming production of Peep, an all family puppet show premiering in Calgary in September. We are presenting international puppeteer, Bernd Ogrodnik from Iceland from May 27-29. He will be offering workshops in Zen and the Art of Puppetry, a screening and lecture of the film “Strings” in which he designed, built and performed in, and a presentation of his puppet show “Metamorphosis”. We are also running a professional development physical theatre workshop from June 8 – 12 from 6 to 10pm at the West Village Theatre.

To find out about what Green Fools is up to and to connect, visit their website at www.greenfools.com or their Facebook page.”

Dean Bareham, Co-Artistic Director, Green Fools Theatre
Read Green Fool Theatre’s profile in ArtBridges Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

Artists Without Borders: a developing Canadian-based initiative

Artists Without Borders Logo

I recently met with Brian Hardie, a Vancouver-based visual artist, in Toronto. He told me about the founding of a new non-profit initiative he is researching and developing called “Artists Without Borders.” Brian has been spending the past six months connecting with and meeting people to explore and expand the idea and the model for this initiative.

Artists Without Borders is an international charity providing art programs for school-aged children in communities where access to essential learning opportunities is limited due to conflict, poverty, natural and climate related disasters. The organization believes that the children most in need will benefit by engaging in creative activities such as drawing and painting, sculpture and related crafts, music, and dance. The highest priority are those communities most in need.” (from Artists Without Borders pdf, click the link to read more.)

Over the course of our conversation, we discussed the need to learn from successful outreach programs where artists are going into communities in Canada—some were remote, some under-resourced or under-serviced, some correctional centres, some communities were facing issues including youth suicide, homelessness, or poverty. The successful outreach programs we discussed included: DareArts, ArtsCan Circle, Blue Print For Life, Sistema New Brunswick, Leave Out Violence (LOVE), to name a few.

We also talked about the need to look at lessons learned. When artists go into communities that they’re not familiar with or have never lived nor stayed in, what are the challenges, risks and potential dangers to both the artist and the community? What kinds of training, preparation, work, post-work debriefing and evaluations are needed in order for an outreach project to be successful?

Brian also showed me an amazing video Landfill Harmonic: The World Sends us Garbage…We Send Back Music about children and youth making instruments from junk found in a landfill site in Paraguay and how they went on to form the Landfill Harmonic. So inspiring! 

If you’d like to know more and connect with Brian about the development of Artists Without Borders, please reach him at: brian.hardie@gmail.com. Visit his website here: http://www.brianhardieart.com/

 -Seanna Connell, Project Director

ArtBridges/ToileDesArts Sponsor
Spamalot | Orpheus Theatre

Profile: Arts for Children and Youth (Toronto)

(Left to right) Mural, Puppetry, Aboriginal Drumming/ all photos provided by AFCY

AFCY-Cultivating Creativity, Engaging Community
Founded in 1995, Arts for Children and Youth (AFCY) is a charitable, grassroots, not-for-profit organization that engages young people from Toronto’s under-serviced communities in meaningful arts education programs. The general model is to provide outreach programming and collaborative program development based on the communities’ needs. Our collaborative work in both priority schools and community venues is geared to further enrich young people’s lives through their art-making and communal participation. AFCY’s school and community-based programs are strategically and educationally linked. We work with children and youth ranging from ages 3-29. All programs are offered at no cost to the participants.

Our vision is to enable all young people, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances, to realize and act on their creative potential. It is within the imagination that people can discover new possibilities. The arts invite children and youth to explore, re-envision and make new connections to the world around them. Through their continued involvement in the arts young people discover their role as cultural innovators who can shape our collective future.

Programs and Hubs we Serve in
AFCY runs 150+ school and community based programs in nine priority communities in Toronto: Weston-Mount Dennis, Jamestown, Jane-Finch, Lawrence Heights, Regent Park, Warden Woods, Victoria Park, Malvern and Toronto Central.

We engage young people in multidisciplinary outreach programs that include visual arts, music, digital art, video, dub poetry, dance, drama and beat-boxing. In over 80 locations in the City of Toronto, AFCY operates school-based and after-school creative activities. You can find our programs in schools, shelters, malls, libraries, community centres, hospitals, public housing and in churches. AFCY’s guiding principles are “Cultivating Creativity, Engaging Community”.

The programs we provide are tailor-made and relevant to the community. Participants get hands-on experience working in a youth-led environment. We use existing community assets, for example, we recently transformed a traffic roundabout into a community based mosaic mural. Inclusive and accessible, our programs are centred on social and cultural awareness. We invite inter-generational interaction and base our artful projects on communal storytelling.

Youth Mentorship
AFCY believes in youth mentorship. In every AFCY program, we hire two artists: a professional arts educator and a youth arts assistant who is a developing artist. The mentorship takes place as they work together facilitating the planned workshops. Mentees are placed in program frontlines for up to three years and thereafter are prepared to become AFCY lead artists.

Community Sharing
Community Sharing is a consistent component of every AFCY program. In our Community Sharing Programs, program participants donate their artwork or performances to social service agencies within their community. This celebrates the youths’ artistic achievements both publicly and communally. At the core of such a public sharing of artwork/performances is the belief that youth participants recognize that creative activity is a means to interact with and affect society.

Professional Development
AFCY offers professional development workshops for Toronto artists, educators, and community workers. We operate an Arts Educators Institute to foster long-term development of the arts educational field. This ground-breaking initiative invites arts educators from across Toronto to attend.

AFCY’s Structure
AFCY has 4 full-time and 6 part-time office staff, a roster of 75 professional artists, approximately 25 volunteers and 40 developing youth artists. AFCY has a 9-member board of directors, an advisory board and a youth advisory council. Immediate administrative needs include support with strategic planning, governance, policies, board and staff development, conflict management, programming, curriculum development and new fundraising ideas.

(Left to Right) African Drumming, TTC Murals

BIG BAM BOOM! AFCY Youth Arts Festival
AFCY’s annual BIG BAM BOOM! Youth Arts Festival is a weekend-long exhibition and performance at the Harbourfront Centre. The festival is a culmination and celebration of the year’s programs. Conceived and orchestrated by AFCY’s Youth Advisory Council, the event showcases the talents of youth from Toronto’s under-serviced neighbourhoods.

Promoting our Work
AFCY partners with Onestop Media to display the childrens’ and youths’artworks on video screens in TTC subway platforms. The projects give the children and youth opportunities to share their experiences and talents and have dialogue with the public through their art.

Budget
In 2010-2011, AFCY operated on an annual budget of $850,000. Twenty seven per cent of AFCY’s annual budget came from the three levels of Canadian Government. Individual donors, foundation grants, corporate partnerships as well as other fundraising efforts help pay for programming and operating costs.

Needs
AFCY is interested in partnering and creating outreach programs with other community arts organizations. Because we are an established community arts organization, we would be interested in linking with other emerging or established organizations with whom we might share resources. In order to sustain our programming, we accept volunteer applications throughout the year. Our non-financial needs include art supplies, computers (both desktop and laptop), digital media recorders such as cameras, scanners, sound equipment and professional support with digital work.

Please visit www.afcy.ca for more information.

(Left to Right) Drama, Digital Art

– submitted by Julie Frost, Executive and Artistic Director of Arts for Children and Youth. ArtBridges interviewed Julie Frost in November 2010.

Please see ArtBridges’ Google Map for contact  information.

Community Artist Profile: Michael “Cy” Cywink (Ontario)

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“Michael Cywink is a band member of the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island. He is also an alumnus of the Museum Studies Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Michael is an independent curator. Previously he was the curator for the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation in M’Chigeeng, Manitoulin Island, as well as a First Nation’s cultural consultant with Walt Disney Imagineering / Disney’s America theme park project in Glendale, California. Throughout the 80’s he was a counselor / contract street worker in Toronto working with agencies such as Central Toronto Youth Services, Under 21 Covenant House, The Toronto Boy’s Home, Native Men’s Residence and Kinark Homes.”

Profile: Cultural Appreciation From A First Nation Perspective
Status: Independent Curator
Community served: This art program is intended to serve youth, adults, homeless, seniors, children, First Nations, Metis and Inuit
Arts focus: Visual art mural projects based on First Nation perspective.
Language: Canadian English
Location: This program is intended to be brought to your community and completed by the community participants.
Mandate: To work with those who have an interest to learn of First Nation’s culture through the arts with appreciation.
Main arts activities: Researching First Nations, learning of the Seven Grandfather Teachings, mixing color, wall mural layout and design, painting. All participants learn the value of working together as a team, respecting those they work with and from while in a safe environment
Contact: Michael “Cy” Cywink
Phone number: 705-869-6866
E-mail: cycywink@gmail.com
Website: www.slideshare.net/michaelcywink, www.authorsden.com/michaelcywink
Address: 330 Albert Street, Espanola, Ontario, P5E 1J7

michaelcywink1All above photos posted with permission from Michael Cywink

Submitted by Michael Cywink

Please see ArtBridge’s Google Map for contact information.

Mini-Profile: The Borough Most Thorough (Community Arts Project, Scarborough)

photos  by Jennifer D. Fabico

“Presented in partnership by the Scarborough Arts Council & Beatz to da Streetz, The Borough Most Thorough is a series of fully immersive urban music creation workshops for youth ages 14 -19. The Borough Most Thorough reinforces for participating youth the depth of cultural wealth that currently exists within themselves and their own communities.

One local community organization from each of Scarborough’s six priority neighbourhoods plays host to an intense, week-long series of mobile music recording workshops. Each workshop allows 10 youth to collaborate on the creation of original hip-hop tracks. Participants explore the writing, recording, production, and performance phases of an original album. The program culminates in the creation of a professionally produced album and digital .mp3 files. The Borough Most Thorough participants gain first hand recording experience, and are free to use their final album to promote themselves and their art form. The recording is free to be shared and distributed by its creators, fueling future musical endeavours without traditional music industry parameters.

The Borough Most Thorough 2010 creates a forum in which it is possible for Scarborough youth to directly develop important life skills, while networking in a safe environment and collaborating with like-minded individuals.”

– Submitted by Jennifer D. Fabico (BFA, BEd), Program and Outreach Coordinator, The Borough Most Thorough,  e-mail or call (416)698 -7322

Here’s a great video from a TBMT rehearsal of at the McGregor Community Centre in Dorset Park (July 2010, video by Jennifer D. Fabico):

Please see ArtBridges’ Google Map for contact information.

Profile: ArtsSmarts/GénieArts (Canada-wide)

In the process of identifying community arts projects, resources, organizations and programs throughout Canada, ArtBridges kept coming across ArtsSmarts projects. Many were found in rural and remote communities where arts services or opportunities seemed to be very limited.

ArtsSmarts was founded in 1998 by the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation on the premise that engaging young people in artistic activity is critical to their evolution as creative thinkers and that a creative intellect is a crucial asset for young people as they navigate their way in the new knowledge-based economy of the 21st century. This valuable national organization continues to bring arts into schools across Canada today.

Over the past decade, the ArtsSmarts model has evolved from a focus on the effects of learning through the arts to capturing the potential of the arts as a way of learning. Creative projects across Canada have demonstrated the potential of the ArtsSmarts model to inspire innovative teaching and learning that supports the achievement of provincial learning outcomes and the development of a wide range of 21st century competencies, which create a framework for success.

In classrooms, the ArtsSmarts model is designed to engage students in creative inquiry about topics that span many different subject areas of the curriculum. At the core of this project model is a sustained collaboration between an artist-teacher team. The practicing artist and classroom teacher plan together, work together in the classroom and modify their actions based on joint reflection and assessment. ArtsSmarts projects require the artist and teacher to share learning, ownership and control, and adapt to new ways of collaborating. Tailored to the context, and designed as a process, the artist-teacher team works together with students through the process of inquiry-based learning to answer the BIG questions, produce their own ideas and solutions, and reflect on their work. Students take ownership of their projects and take the risks necessary to answer compelling questions, solve problems, and make their learning visible through different art forms.

ArtsSmarts has changed the way that teachers see the role of art and creativity in education; 78% of teachers agree that they teach differently now (by combining arts with core subjects), 85% would continue to work with artists in the future. ArtsSmarts has made a positive difference within schools by increasing engagement and learning.

ArtsSmarts is neither a program delivery model nor a centralized model. ArtsSmarts facilitates partnerships to ensure the best chance of sustainability; each community partner raises funds for their own project. On the ground, it is the partnerships who bring the ArtsSmarts model of teaching and learning to life. ArtsSmarts doesn’t deliver its approach in schools; its partners do. In 2009-10, more than 22,042 children and youth in 138 communities across the country had an ArtsSmarts experience.

ArtsSmarts works in schools grades K-12 through collaboration with 16 partnerships and more than 80 organizations across Canada. These partnerships, which can be local, regional or provincial, coordinate ArtsSmarts projects with local schools and artist-teacher teams. Historically, approximately 42% of ArtsSmarts projects took place in rural or remote communities, several of which are located on reserves.

ArtsSmarts partnerships are formed from various fields and sectors such as arts education, school boards, art galleries and government ministries. ArtsSmarts’ role is to bring together these uncommon and unlikely partners in order to generate conversations, activities, and support around the transformative power of the arts as a way of learning. Each community prioritizes, sets their own objectives and program targets, then selects the schools that they will work with. For example, in Durham Region, the partnership focuses on student success initiatives and working with students at-risk. In New Brunswick, the francophone partnership works to promote and maintain Francophone/Acadian culture.

The bilingual organization has two full-time staff who support partnerships as well as offer an annual learning symposium and coordinate research on the ArtsSmarts program. The head office is based in Ottawa.

ArtsSmarts’ goals this year are to develop a tool kit of the ArtsSmarts model, harmonize program delivery, host a learning symposium in October 4-6, 2010 in Montreal, look at formalizing and achieving 100% participation in their student engagement survey, design a new strategic vision to guide the organization, and, improve the design format of qualitative research.

Their strategy is not to expand by adding more projects rapidly, but to go deeper into each community they are already working within in order to provide better programming. They continue to work on a rubric which is an evaluation and measurement tool for their projects.

ArtsSmarts’ challenges this year are to achieve goals within their budget and to fundraise in order to maintain their half-million dollar budget.

ArtBridges interview april 19 2010 Annalee Adair, Executive Director

Please see ArtBridges’ Google Map for contact information.

Profile: Jumblies (Toronto)


Photo by K. Fleitas


Jumblies Theatre is a community arts charitable organization that was founded in 2001 by Ruth Howard. Its mandate is to make high-calibre art with people about where they are, what they’re about and where they want to go. Much more than a theatre-based company, Jumblies explores visuals arts, new media, film, poetry, puppetry, dance, community arts and many cultural traditions. It offers three main components to their work:

Jumblies Ventures takes on multi-year art residencies in diverse communities. Through a multi-disciplinary artistic process, a team of artists research, create and produce a theatrical production while forming community partnerships involving several hundred community residents and dozens of skilled artists while providing hundreds of art workshops and art outreach opportunities.

Jumblies Offshoots maintains relationships with people and communities they have previously worked with by supporting new leadership and sustainable community arts initiatives.

Jumblies Studio trains and mentors artists in community arts practice and provides internships for trainees in community arts organizations. Jumblies is “known for creating wonderful products, having a genuine engagement process and providing unique learning/mentorship/training opportunities”, says Keith McNair, Managing Director.

Photo by: K. Fleitas

Jumblies is currently in the middle of a four-year residency in Scarborough’s Kingston Galloway-Orton Park area, a “high priority” community. The company was invited by the City of Toronto’s Cultural Services to bring their expertise in art-making and social bridge-building into this neighbourhood. Jumblies focuses on reaching out to people who don’t usually have creative opportunities. Jumblies’ projects are inclusive, diverse, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, accessible and intergenerational. This Scarborough residency, called the “Community Arts Guild,” is based at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre & Gallery, operated by Toronto’s Cultural Services. Participants are often bussed over to the centre to partake in the art activities. Jumblies also conducts art activities in outreach locations, and their roster of professional artists travel all around the neighbourhood.

Through the residency, Jumblies gets to know participants’ stories; runs numerous art workshops, free of charge; and works on the many stages of creating a large-scale theatrical production. For example, Tamil Seniors and First Nations groups each contributed traditional music, movement and dance to the May 2010 work-in-progress presentation of Like An Old Tale, an exploration of the story, poetry, themes and images of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, set against locally-generated material.

Jumblies artistic and social development goals are interlinked. In the third year, there will be a large-scale interdisciplinary production at a non-traditional venue. In the fourth year, emerging arts leaders and partner organizations will work to sustain community arts practice in East Scarborough beyond Jumblies’ residency term.

One of Jumblies’ activity locations in Scarborough is the Lido Motel Arts Suite. This motel houses families in need of temporary residence (the city rents motel space to use for overflow shelter needs). Since February, Jumblies has been conducting drop-in art workshops at the Lido one to two afternoons per week, in collaboration with the City of Toronto’s Family Residence. We have not heard of any art studio like this within our work at ArtBridges! It’s amazingly resourceful!

Jumblies Studio, launched in 2006, is a flexible, integrated and itinerant program for learning, mentorship and exploration in Arts that engage with and create Community. “The Studio’s goals are to ensure artistic vigour, variety, growth and excellence in the field of community arts; bridge the gap between post-secondary or other forms of training and the working world, through hands-on advanced training and mentorship; help artists to combine their expertise and passions with processes of meaningful social inclusion and transformation; maintain and share a body of knowledge in community arts theory and practice; and engage knowledgeable colleagues in the ongoing development of the Studio’s curriculum.” (from web/tcf)

The Studio has run a six-day intensive training course in community arts in Toronto each year since 2006 and in Vancouver in 2009 (in partnership with Vancouver Moving Theatre), with a 2010 session planned in Nipissing First Nation (near North Bay). Students include artists from diverse disciplines and traditions, arts administrators, community workers, art therapists and scholars. Jumblies have also hosted 32 Interns – visual artists, writers, musicians, composers, actors, directors, clowns, puppeteers, designers, producers, administrators, photographers, dances, choreographers and community workers.

Photo by K. Fleitas

Jumblies’ two Offshoot Projects: Arts4All in Davenport West and MABELLEarts in Central Etobicoke have developed from previous residencies. These are independent community arts ventures, under the leadership of former Jumblies Studio interns.

Jumblies’ goals for 2010 include sustainability of the work, especially the training, mentorship and professional development practice. Keith says, “there’s always the question of how we sustain our projects? Who knows how to do it? Can we find and nurture more people who know how to do this or who are drawn to learn?” If Jumblies could find more core-funding, it would expand its mentorship, internship and professional development practice both in and outside of Toronto. Jumblies is always looking for volunteers and would love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved. They could particularly use some support with developing private and earned fundraising areas.

Jumblies’ catchment area is mostly Toronto. However, Jumblies Studio has run activities in Vancouver and North Bay and Jumblies has strong connections across Canada, which it would like to strengthen. The average number of participants is about 500 annually. Office hours are typically 9:00am to 6:00pm, Monday to Friday, September through June. Hours of activity vary depending on the projects. Jumblies has two full-time staff, hosts about seven interns each year, and works with approximately 50 artist/facilitators, designers, production staff (seasonal or on contract) and approximately 450 volunteers per year. This past year, Jumblies offered over 200 workshops with community members (sometimes five or six per week). All of their project work is done in communities, at community-based sites or artistic spaces used in new ways; rent is provided to Jumblies as an in-kind contribution. The current annual budget is about $475,000, and the annual value of donations-in-kind is approximately $54,000. Jumblies Theatre is funded by approximately 40-50% government funding and has a budget for professional development, training, and conferences. Jumblies Theatre is interested in exploring connections with other community arts projects/ programs/ organizations/ resources. Jumblies has received numerous accolades and awards, and most recently, was recognized for its work at the Toronto Community Foundation’s Vital Toronto event, June 2010.

Interview with Keith McNair, Managing Director, Jumblies, June 17th, 2010.

Please see ArtBridges’ Google Map for contact information.

Profile: The Murphy Centre: Community Youth Arts (St. John’s)

The Murphy Centre is a not-for-profit organization that offers a wide variety of programs and services to youth at risk, including the Community Youth Arts Program. The over 8 years of success of this program can be attributed to the dedication of the centre’s co-directors Timothy Thorne and Timothy Turner as well as its invaluable staff.  Its mandate is to help youth who have various barriers to obtaining further education and employment, develop their employability skills and goals with a particular focus on visual arts.

Candace Fulford, the program’s current coordinator, explained that at-risk can mean many different things including problems with addictions, mental health barriers, street involvement a loss of a loved one, aboriginal status, a general loss of a sense of direction and, of course the list goes on. The program seeks to help these youth find relevant employment or education in their areas of interest, particularly visual arts. The participants of this program are paid the current minimum wage for 30 hour per week for roughly 47 weeks. This helps to set up the program as a job model where people are held accountable for their actions as they would be in a job outside of the program.

During the program, professional artists host workshops that share knowledge and skills with the participants.  These professional artists are invited to teach and are paid fair rates as determined by our national artist advocacy organization’s, Canadian Artists’ Representation /Le Front des artistes canadiens  (CARFAC), minimum fee schedule. The focus of the program is on professional practices in the visual arts but it is not closed off to other artistic endeavours like writing and music. Within the program they also incorporate field trips that are geared towards visual arts by using the places they visit as inspiration.

In terms of evaluating the program, many people ask Candace: “Did they go to school for visual arts or get a job afterwards? What is the success rate?”  Candace answers by saying that the success for each person is different. The biggest indicator for success, in her mind, is that the youth learn how to interact with each other, work as a group, break out of their shell, improve their social skills and figure out where their strengths lie. Here, youth learn how to share and compromise, express themselves, and work communally.   Art is therapeutic and is a vehicle for youth to express themselves and break out of the pattern they may feel they are held back with. It is most important for them to develop their talents and to realize what they have to offer.

In previous years, a peer mentorship position was offered where a former participant from the previous program would return in a supervisory role and aid the new youth arts participants.  They’d share their valuable experiences and help to support the role of the program coordinator. This year they are trying something new by employing another professional Murphy Centre staff member, Colleen Banko, who has extensive experience working with people of all ages to help build life skills and career development. Although this new coordinator position is half time there are strong hopes that in the future both positions will be full time.

The program sets up community partnerships and volunteer opportunities for the youth to gain experience working in the local arts community.  The program is all about partnering and collaborating with other programs and projects. They are always looking for new ideas and ways that the 12 participants can become involved with the community and help to support the great work that other organizations are doing every day.  They are also interested in collaborating with organizations outside of the province and are open to exchanges of artworks and ideas.

The catchment area for the Community Youth Arts Program is Newfoundland and Labrador. However, youth need to live in St. John’s in order to attend.  The language of service is currently English. The program is geared towards youth between the ages 15-30.  The hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 10-4pm.

The Community Youth Arts Program has a permanent studio in one of the Murphy Centre’s three locations. They rent the 2000 sq ft space, called HarbourSide Studio, in the downtown area of St. John’s where they are more connected to the arts community.

WISHLIST: The Murphy Centre’s Community Youth Arts Program needs paint, paper, textile materials and tools (especially a sewing machine and serger!) as well as sculptural tools and materials.  The art program’s annual budget range is close to $300,000 which includes everything from all related wages to supplies and materials- so the money has to go a long way! They also barter and partner with other arts organizations in return for volunteer time and various collaborative projects.

Please see ArtBridges’ Google Map for contact information.

Profile: Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts (Edmonton)

The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts is a non-profit community arts organization, that was founded in 2003.  The centre, founded by Wendy Hollo, Curtis Gillespie and Paul Freeman began as a project of SKILLS Society, a local agency that supports people with developmental disabilities.  Wendy and Curtis has previously partnered to publish a book of life stories, including the story of Nina Haggerty.  Nina and her sister Rita spent over five decades in an institution before finally realizing their dream to live together in a home in community, as they had as children.  It was then, late in life, that Nina took her first art class, unleashing a passion and talent for art making that would mark the last decade of her life.  Her story served as the inspiration behind the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts.

“Nina loved to paint and showed great talent for it. She created many beautiful paintings that now hang proudly in the homes of friends and support staff. One can only imagine the contribution she would have been able to make in her lifetime had her gift been recognized and nurtured earlier. Three years after her death in 1999, the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts opened its doors. Her life underscores the great importance of providing people with developmental disabilities the chance to find creative outlets for expressing their experiences and emotions.” (web)

The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts provides a studio experience where adults with developmental disabilities can focus in a serious way on the creation of art and their own development as artists.  For many of these emerging artists, it is the first time that they have been recognized for their talent and capacity, rather than their disability.  Most artists who come to work in the studio live in group homes with paid supports or with their families.  Some require the assistance of support staff to attend.

The philosophy behind the centre is that everyone has the inherent right to engage in creative activity, and their mission supports that. As Paul expounded, art-making allows an individual to tell a new story about who they are. It gives them a new identity as an artist. The most important thing is to offer people the chance to see themselves in a new light, and develop their self-worth through art.  The studio program is not intended as therapy, but a place where one can explore and development their interest in art to a new level.
The objective in the studio is to provide a place of freedom for participants, allowing them to explore their creativity on their own. Participants have “genuinely beautiful work,” and staff do not want to overly influence their style or their process.  It is important for participants to feel like they have authority over their own work because they are often find themselves being told what to do and how to do during the course of their day-to-day lives. Their general mandate is to say ‘yes’, for example, “more paper?” yes, “more supplies?”, yes…
Please see ArtBridges’ Google Map for contact information.