Platform A - New Micro Grants Being Offered in Community-Engaged Arts

Toronto Arts Council Partners On Platform A, A New Initiative To Develop Capacity And Innovation In Community-Engaged Arts

Toronto - Toronto Council is pleased to announce the launch of an exciting pilot project – Platform A. This initiative will test new models for collaboration and resource sharing in the youth and community-engaged arts sectors. Funding for this project is part of the $4 million increase in investment to Toronto Arts Council from the City of Toronto’s 2013 budget. 

Platform A is a collaboration between four of Toronto’s leading organizations in community-engaged arts: Arts for Children and Youth, Art Starts, Jumblies Theatre and SKETCH. These organizations have all emerged from grassroots initiatives and have grown to become key community builders in Toronto’s arts sector, engaging thousands of children, young people and adults annually through their diverse, innovative and accessible programming. 

“We are thrilled to be the catalyst funder for this important initiative,” stated Claire Hopkinson, Director and CEO of the Toronto Arts Council. “These organizations are in an excellent position to build access and capacity for artists and projects that have the potential to transform lives and communities.”

The aim of the Platform A initiative is to fuse the strengths and experiences of the four organizations to support a shared vision of seeding sustainable, high-quality community arts practice, and providing increased opportunities and access to the arts for youth and communities. The project will create new opportunities through shared platforms, mentorships, organizational bridge building, and micro-grants. 

"Throughout history, some of the most significant art work has been created by artists who live and create outside conventional frameworks, outside of the mainstream worldview. Each of the organizations involved is honoured to be partnering with the Toronto Arts Council to ensure a diversity of artistic voices can access support," says Phyllis Novak, Artistic Director of SKETCH. 

Through this initiative, each organization will solidify their roles as entry points for youth and communities to arts practice, funding, and administration. They will increase local arts capacity and the potential for ongoing arts activities and employment in neighbourhoods throughout Toronto. Platform A will also create opportunities for their youth and community-based constituents by connecting them to each collaborating organization and their larger networks. 

“What makes this project unique is the commitment to ongoing dialogue and exchange that will occur between the four collaborating organizations, who will share best practices and methodologies as we develop our programs,” says Liz Forsberg, Managing Director of Art Starts.

Platform A is a key initiative that was developed in line with TAC’s strategic priorities to enhance support forCommunity Connections in local and youth-based arts delivery, and foster increased Innovation and Partnershipsthat will incubate new ideas and opportunities across all disciplines. 


About Toronto Arts Council
Toronto Arts Council, an arm’s length body of the City of Toronto, funds artists and arts organizations across the city through its grants programs. In 2012, approximately $10.3 million was disbursed to 419 arts organizations and 272 individual artists following assessment of 1562 applications. Toronto Arts Council’s grant budget has increased to $14.3 million in 2013. Click here for Creating Value with Increased Investment in the Arts, a report which identifies and targets immediate arts funding needs and longer term programs and goals, created following the City of Toronto and Toronto Arts Council’s 2013 consultations with Toronto’s cultural sector held in collaboration with Toronto Cultural Services,, and the Creative Capital Advisory Committee.
Click here for TAC’s Priorities for New Funding, 2013 – 2016.

Arts for Children and Youth (AFCY)
AFCY is an award-winning organization whose mandate is to engage young people living in priority neighbourhoods in high-quality, accessible arts educational programs that are meaningful, relevant and collaboratively developed with community and education partners. AFCY positions arts programs in schools and neighbourhood venues as a means of building community, and empowering marginalized children and youth to reach their full potential as artists and social contributors.

Art Starts
Art Starts is an award-winning charitable, not-for-profit organization that uses the arts as a vehicle to encourage social change in Toronto╩╝s underserved neighbourhoods. Bringing professional artists and communities together to work across all artistic disciplines, Art Starts combines the best practices of hands-on community consultation with a collaborative art-making approach and sound organizational and administrative support.

Jumblies Theatre
In operation for over ten years, Jumblies is an inclusive and community-focused theatre company offering multi-year residencies, studio training, mentorships, and innovative collaborative projects. Jumblies is an award-winning organization increasingly cited as a pioneering and inspirational example of art that embraces and intertwines aesthetics with social engagement.

SKETCH is a nationally recognized, award-winning community arts development initiative based in Toronto engaging young people living homeless and on the margins, ages 15-29, from across Canada. SKETCH creates equitable opportunities for diverse young people to experience the transformative power of the arts. SKETCH will work with CUE, one of their shared platform projects, in the delivery of micro-grants. CUE is a radical, youth-led, high-access arts support initiative enabling young marginalized artists to develop arts project proposals, produce, and exhibit their visions, within an intimate and supportive community framework. 

Contact :Kerry Swanson 416 392 6802 x209