TORONTO ARTS COUNCIL | NEWS | PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM RECIPIENTS

TAC Announces Recipients of new Partnership Programs

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April 11, 2014

Toronto Arts Council (TAC) is pleased to announce the recipients of its new pilot grants programs: Artists in the Library and Animating Historic Sites. Fourteen artists have been selected in a highly competitive process that will see libraries and historic sites outside the downtown core enlivened with art including spoken word, dance, visual and media arts, theatre, music, and storytelling. These new initiatives will create avenues for deep engagement with the arts in neighbourhoods outside the core and to offer new opportunities for artists working in all disciplines.

“The demand for our new programs has been demonstrated in the enthusiastic feedback we have had from artists, and the volume and calibre of applicants,” says Claire Hopkinson, TAC Director and CEO. “This investment of $210,000 is an excellent first step in building partnerships that create new access points for the arts in communities outside the downtown core.”

The Artists in the Library program, in partnership with Toronto Public Library, will see five library branches animated with community-engaged Artists in Residence, from September to December 2014. The Animating Historic Sites program, in partnership with City of Toronto, Museums and Heritage Services, awarded five Exploration Grants and four Programming Grants to recipients who will reimagine five museums through engagement with their histories, local contexts, workers and communities.

The 2014 Artists in the Library recipients are:
D’bi Young Anitafrika, Oakwood Village Library and Arts Centre
Dwayne Morgan, Cedarbrae Branch
FIXT POINT, Mimico Branch
Latoya Joy Lapps, Downsview Branch
Rukhsana Khan, Fairview Branch

See footer for details of the Artists in the Library recipients.

The 2014 Animating Historic Sites programming project recipients are:
Kaeja d’Dance, Montgomery's Inn
Keystone Theatre, Scarborough Museum
Memories of the Future, Gibson House
Words in Motion, Todmorden Mills

See footer for details of the animating Historic Sites project recipients.

In addition to programming grants, five Exploration Grants were awarded to artists and curators to explore new ideas and initiatives at each of the five sites. The recipients are:

Alyssa Fearon, Scarborough Museum
Janine Marchessault, Zion Schoolhouse
Kathleen McDonnell, Montgomery Inn
Tapestry New Opera Works, Todmorden Mills
Single Thread Theatre Company, Gibson House

See footer for details of the Exploration Grants recipients.

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.

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

The 2014 Artists in the Library recipients
D’bi Young Anitafrika,Oakwood Village Library and Arts Centre
d’bi.young anitafrika is an internationally celebrated African-Jamaican-Canadian dubpoet, monodramatist, and educator. She is the published author of two collections of poetry, eight plays, two dubpoetry albums, and The Sankofa Trilogy. d’bi. is the recipient of two Dora Mavor Moore Awards, among many others, and is the Program Designer and Facilitator of the Arts, Activism and AIDS Academy – a recent project of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Dwayne Morgan, Cedarbrae Branch
Dwayne Morgan is a spoken word artist and the 2012 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word National Poetry Slam Champion. He is founder of Up From the Roots entertainment, promoting the artistic contributions of African Canadian and urban influenced arts. In 2013, Morgan was honoured with a Star on the Scarborough Walk of Fame. He is the recipient of the African Canadian Achievement Award, the Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in the Arts and three Canadian Urban Music Awards. Dwayne has published seven books and recently started a poetry slam pilot project with York Region District School Board.

FIXT POINT, Mimico Branch
Founded in 2006, FIXT POINT is a professional theatre and media company engaging communities with site specific performance and audio art. Their goal is to preserve local heritage and promote neighbourhood cultures through art and storytelling. Their acclaimed project The Tale of a Town was produced as a full-length radio show for CBC Radio One and has toured across Ontario, engaging hundreds of community members around the province. FIXT POINT has produced widely acclaimed tours of original work around the world, including at the Edinburgh Festival and the Prague International Festival.

Latoya Joy Lapps, Downsview Branch
Joy Lapps is a musician, composer and arts educator whose primary instrument is the soprano steel pan. She has performed at festivals including Toronto’s Afrofest, Muhtadi’s International Drumming Festival, and Antigua’s Moods of Pan Festival. Joy has released four recordings and the self-titled EP Joy (2013). She has been nominated for a Harry Jerome Arts and Media Award and the Caribbean Music and Entertainment Award. Joy is founder of Steel Pan Experience, offering workshops and presentations to schools and communities across Toronto.

Rukhsana Khan, Fairview Branch
Rukhsana Khan is an award-winning author and storyteller who was born in Lahore, Pakistan and immigrated to Canada at the age of three. She has published twelve books ranging from picture books to short stories to teen novels. Her book Wanting Mor has and/or been shortlisted for fifteen awards and her picture book The Big Red Lollipop was chosen by the New York Times as one of the ten best illustrated books of 2010, and selected by New York Public Library as one of the 100 Greatest Children’s Books in the Last 100 Years.

The 2014 Animating Historic Sites programming recipients

Kaeja d’Dance, Montgomery's Inn
One of Canada’s longest-standing contemporary dance companies, Kaeja d'Dance, will engage the residents in communities surrounding Montgomery's Inn to produce four original community dance creations inspired by the history of the inn. Works featuring a cast of approximately 25 intergenerational community participants will be set within different areas of the inn and the grounds and presented in three early evening performances in the fall 2014.

Keystone Theatre, Scarborough Museum
Award-winning company, Keystone Theatre, will engage the Youth Team at the Scarborough Museum in a multi-phase theatre project that will animate the space from April through June 2014, getting them involved in everything from set design to staging. The work that will be produced is created in the style of a silent film, responding to language barriers and the demographic makeup of Scarborough Village, where over half of residents are immigrants and over 26 languages are spoken.

Memories of the Future, Gibson House
Memories of the Future is a collaboration between curators Noa Bronstein and Katherine Dennis that brings together artists to respond to a theme through the creation of site and context specific installations at historic houses and museums. Using the visual language of the present and speculating on possibilities for the future, artists will expose, interpret and remember memories of the past. The artists who will produce site specific projects that respond to the history of Gibson House are: Robert Hengeveld, Matt Macintosh, Sara Angelucci, Eleanor King, and Department of Unusual Certainties. Gibson House will also be activated through programming such as artist talks and an artist-led tour of the neighbourhood.

Words in Motion, Todmorden Mills
Words in Motion creates and delivers innovative arts programming that is rooted in and derived from the community, with storytelling at its heart. In 2013, the company Voices in the Valley in 2013, a theatrical presentation of the history of Todmorden Mills. This year they will revise the script, enhance production values and present 20 performances of Voices in the Valley at Todmorden Mills from July through September, 2014

Five Exploration Grants recipients

Alyssa Fearon, Scarborough Museum
Curator, arts programmer, and first generation Canadian Alyssa Fearon will design a participatory arts-based program that will involve community members in defining alternative ways of understanding the historic Scarborough Museum, as well as redefining their own role as developers of their own community. This site animation will be a platform to address the gaps and connections between newcomer, first generation Canadians and local Indigenous populations within Scarborough.

Janine Marchessault, Zion Schoolhouse
Curator Janine Marchessault will undertake historical and curatorial reseach to organize a site specific exhibition called Of Progress at the Zion Schoolhouse. The goal is to invite eight Canadian artists in a variety of media to engage with the history of the school and surrounding community to think about the question of progress through changing forms of education. Through the story of the Zion Schoolhouse, this exhibition will tell a history of this land to open the door for new understandings of the current ecological crisis.

Kathleen McDonnell, Montgomery Inn
Playwright and musician Kathleen McDonnell will work on the development of a site specific, participatory/interactive historical play with music for staging at Mongomery Inn. The play will feature a choir, with singers drawn from the local community. At this exploratory phase, the project will encompass two areas of work: research and writing of a draft script, including musical components, and outreach to local communities to explore the possibilities for participation, with emphasis on assembling a community choir.

Tapestry New Opera Works, Todmorden Mills
Tapestry New Opera Works will explore the potential in creating a music-theatre/opera performance at Todmorden Mills with playwright Hannah Moscovitch about the Brooks Bush Gang.

Single Thread Theatre Company, Gibson House
Single Thread Theatre Company will undertake initial work on a site-specific play about the story of the Gibson family and Gibson House, including research and exploratory work at the site with the actors, director and playwright.



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