TAC's New Partnerships Bring Arts Close to Home

Toronto Arts Council (TAC) is pleased to announce the creation of three exciting new partnerships that will support artists working in communities outside the downtown core. In keeping with TAC’s vision of building a Creative City: Block by Block, these new programs will respond to local needs in neighbourhoods across Toronto.

In collaboration with Toronto Public LibraryCity of Toronto Museums and Toronto District School Board, TAC is designing these programs to offer artists opportunities to animate Toronto’s historic, educational and public spaces while connecting the arts and everyday life in communities in all corners of the city.

“These exciting new partnerships are just the beginning of a larger conversation about animating public spaces through art,” says Claire Hopkinson, Director and CEO of Toronto Arts Council. “Our goal is to create avenues for deep engagement with the arts in neighbourhoods outside the core and to offer new opportunities for artists working in all disciplines.”

This series of pilot initiatives will create platforms for public engagement with the arts and will form the basis for possible future collaborations. TAC’s partnership with Toronto Public Library, Artists in the Library, will include five arts residencies in branches outside the downtown core. These programs will offer increased arts access and participation in local communities, and create new avenues for collaboration and career development for Toronto artists.

“Strengthening cultural participation in local communities, and creating dynamic and creative destinations are key priorities identified in the library’s strategic plan, so we are delighted to be offering our library spaces for this innovative initiative,” comments Jane Pyper, City Librarian.

TAC’s collaboration with the City’s Museum Services department will provide opportunities for artists to animate and connect with up to five Toronto Heritage sites, creating new possibilities for interpreting the City’s historic spaces. The sites selected for this program – Scarborough Museum, Gibson House, Montgomery Inn, Todmorden Mills and Zion Schoolhouse – are all located outside the downtown core. “Having artists engage directly with the City's historic sites will result in new ways of seeing our city's past and imagining its future,” says Karen Black, Manager of Museums Services for the City of Toronto.

In partnering with the Toronto District School Board on the Dare to Create spring festival, TAC will support over 25 artists to participate in residencies, mentorships and performances in schools outside the downtown. The festival will encourage student voices to tell the stories of our City through the arts, while creating connections and shared learning among artists, educators and students. In collaboration with Prologue to the Performing Arts, TAC will provide outreach and create new opportunities for artists to engage young people in multiple art forms within the school system.

“We are excited to work together to nurture and celebrate the creativity of our students. This partnership will allow us to expand our Dare to Create Arts Festival and ensure that voices from our diverse communities are celebrated through the arts,” said Donna Quan, Director of Education. “Thanks to the support of the Toronto Arts Council, even more students will have the opportunity to collaborate with artists through residencies in schools, artist mentorship of secondary students and more public performances and art exhibitions.”

The impact of creating new partnerships with Toronto’s civic institutions will be far-reaching and include increased access to free arts activities and events in public spaces, particularly for young people and local communities. These programs are a direct response to the need for increased access to culturally diverse and relevant arts activities beyond the City centre.

Access to arts space has emerged as a key priority for artists and communities in Toronto, as revealed in a number of community consultations, the City’s 2011 Creative Capital Gains Report, and the Toronto Arts Foundation’s 2013 research paper Transforming Communities through the Arts. TAC is responding to this need by creating partnerships that not only allow us to maximize our arts investment, but will open new avenues for the creation and sharing of art.

More information for each program will be available at www.torontoartscouncil.org from December 5, 2013.The deadline for the Library and TDSB programs is January 15th, 2014 and the deadline for Historic Sites is January 24,2014. TAC will be hosting a Round Robin Information Session on all three programs. The session will take place at the TAC office on December 12th, from 4pm to 7pm, at 200-26 Grand Trunk Crescent.

Contact Information: Kerry Swanson, Outreach and Evaluation Officer, kerry@torontoartscouncil.org