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UrbanArts Community Arts Council

  • Status:
  • Main Communities Served:
    Children, Homeless, Homeless Youth, Youth, Ages 8-29 
  • Main Catchment Area:
    Ontario, Former City of York with focus on Weston-Mt. Dennis, one of Toronto’s 13 "priority neighbourhoods" 
  • Languages:
  • Arts Focus:
    The arts disciplines offered are music, visual, dance, theatre, spoken word, photography as well as leadership training. 
  • Main Community-Engaged Arts / Arts for Social Change Activities:
    One of the special things that they are known for is their mobile recording units that is part of the Beats.Mind.Movement program. They take the mobile units out into the community and with these six units they provide programming for youth who don’t typically have access to these music programs, laptops, headphones. UrbanArts also has a fully equipped in-house studio where youth can access more intense music programming. All the recordings are original works, youth create beats, write their own lyrics and create compilation CDs. UrbanArts also helps youth with the business component of music making and have CD release parties, performance opportunities, and photo shoots for album covers.

    UrbanArts currently rents a 2000sq ft – 2 level studio space. Children and youth can register for programs that are free. They can also drop-in to hang out and do homework. The centre has events and art shows such as The CultureShock Festival which provides performance opportunities, multicultural art exhibitions and sales, and live graffiti painting. Every December they host the Winter Expo which is a publicly attended performance evening where UrbanArts’ talent is celebrated. 
  • Mandate/Mission:
    UrbanArts is a charitable community arts organization that was founded in 1988 as “Art York.” In 2002 the organization refocused its services to addresses the many needs of local youth in the community it serves. Its mission is to enhance community building by engaging youth through the arts. Its mandate is to link community organizations and members with local artists and residents. Its mandate is to link community organizations and members with local artists and residents. 
  • ArtBridging Section:
    Urban Arts is really good at engaging young people in arts and community building as well as spreading the word about the value community arts and the talented individuals within it. Participants are involved, engaged and invested in the centre.

    UrbanArts’ goals this year are to complete both a strategic plan and an evaluation plan for the organization. They are moving into a new location and will create a Youth Arts Hub that will house the new ProTech Media Centre and UrbanArts in December, that is double the size of their current space. This is in collaboration with and supported by Microsoft, Humber College, Renewed Computer Technology and the City of Toronto. As a result of this move, they will be offering new media training for youth and will be looking for more funding and support for construction, furniture and equipment as well as programming.

    UrbanArts wishlist: more volunteers for programming and committees; visual art supplies, software for music; equipment to outfit the new music studio; help with building a teaching kitchen so that they can deliver culinary arts programs; furniture and equipment (e.g. photocopier, dance floor, doors, appliances, etc.) for their new home.

    UrbanArts is interested in sistering/linking with other emerging/established community arts centres to share information with. It can offer other community arts entities programming support, new program ideas like their mobile music program, establishing after school arts programs, and discussing how to best make effective use of limited resources.
  • Main Contact Name:
    Marlene McKintosh, Executive Director 
  • Phone:
    (416) 241-5124 
  • Main Contact Email: 
  • Website:
  • Address:
    19 John Street (in Weston)
    Toronto, ON  M9N 1J2 

Last updated on 2019-04-24 16:21:28. Submitted by: Marlene McKintosh, Executive Director (ArtBridges interview on April 8th, 2010).