Meet Timaj Garad - Outreach and Access Program Manager
Timaj Garad’s formal relationship with Toronto Arts Council (TAC) began in 2018 when she received an Animating Toronto Parks grant for LUMINOUS Fest - Canada’s first Black Muslim Arts Festival. The festival is an annual one-day, multidisciplinary arts festival that includes several performances, workshops, vendors, etc. “It was a great opportunity to bring the community together, in a location that I grew up in; that’s really special to me,” says Timaj, the new Outreach & Access Program Manager at TAC.
With over 15 years of artistic practice as a spoken word artist, singer, songwriter, performer, recording artist, Timaj has also created and implemented several community-based art events, workshops and engagements, including Stellar (R)evolution - a theatre and poetry series for Black Muslimahs, NCCM’s Beyond a Single Story - a national storytellers’ retreat for Canadian Muslim Storytellers, and many others. In her new role Timaj wants to use the power of arts to amplify voices, to build communities and provide creative solutions to the problems that communities are facing.
“As a Black artist myself, I have grown within and have been mentored by the Black arts community. I know how challenging it can be to try to build a career in the arts while navigating so many barriers due to anti-Blackness. The Black community is full of prolific creators who have really shaped and influenced the culture in the city, and I want to make sure that those contributions are celebrated, sustained and amplified. I want to ensure that there’s better access and more opportunities for Black artists so that they can really thrive,” says Timaj.
In 2021 Timaj will also be working on the development and implementation of a new TAC Black arts grant program. “I really want this to be a community driven and community imagined initiative so that the program addresses the actual needs of a very diverse array of members of the Black community, including various intersections. There is a tendency to think of the Black community as a monolith. I want to make sure that we are tapping into segments of the community that are perhaps even further marginalized because of different intersections,” says Timaj. “I also want to think (of the program) in a critical way so that it challenges systemic anti-Black racism.”
In addition to working on the Black arts grant program, Timaj is also keen to support other strategic programs, creating more access for artists who are part of TAC’s Equity-priority groups. “I look forward to supporting artists who don’t have access or perhaps are not aware of all the different funding opportunities available to them.”
Timaj Garad, Outreach and Access Program Manager can be reached at 416-392-6802 x209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.