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September 19, 2006
Remix supports education, employment and business skills development for youth aspiring to careers in creative industries
Young artists and entrepreneurs from Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods have the opportunity to take their passion and potential, and develop it into a career thanks to the Remix Project, a youth-led arts program that uses urban music and culture as a bridge to employment, education and mentorship. In 2004, the Mayor’s Community Safety Panel officially adopted the Remix Project as its priority youth engagement project.

“Remix is a terrific initiative that can help turn a youthful passion into a career that one is passionate about,” said Mayor David Miller. “By supporting our youth and strengthening Toronto’s creative industries through projects like this, we are continuing our commitment to invest in Toronto’s young people, our cultural sector and our most vulnerable neighbourhoods. Initiatives like this one are key to ensuring the success of Toronto and all its citizens.”

The Remix Project is an example of the Mayor’s Community Safety Plan in action. Kehinde Bah, a member of the Community Safety Panel, presented the idea of the Remix Project to the Panel in 2004. Bah wanted the Panel to support an innovative project that would have a cultural and economic impact on young people’s lives. With the Panel’s support, Bah took the Remix concept to Inner City Visions (ICV).

The Remix Project is the evolution of ICV, an innovative youth-driven project that consists of a hip-hop music-oriented recreational drop-in, music industry workshops and seminars, and talent showcases and competitions. The Remix Project takes ICV to the next level through the creation of the Remix Project Training Institute at 110 Sudbury St. where youth will participate in a structured, holistic urban arts development program.

The program is open to youth ages 15 to 24 who have a vision of what they want to accomplish. Whether it is radio, music, film and television, animation and web design, graphic design, creative writing or photography, the Remix Project is designed to be inclusive of each youth’s needs by building supports and opportunities around them, based on their individual goals.

Each programming cycle is open to 30 youth for a period of six months. Aspiring artists and entrepreneurs will be involved in training sessions and skill-building workshops in three program streams: Media Arts, Fine Arts, and Business & Entrepreneurship. Additionally, youth will be paired with an industry mentor in their area of interest who will assist them with their personal development plans.

Youth will receive support in the implementation of their plans, which could include seeking employment, returning to school, beginning or continuing post-secondary studies or starting their own business. Internships have already been established with Toronto businesses and organizations, and Humber College has committed to providing scholarships through its media arts program.

“In metropolitan cities all around the world hip-hop has become one of the most powerful and influential youth sub-cultures,” said Gavin Sheppard, Remix’s Project Co-ordinator. “Recognizing and also understanding that the most effective way to speak to young people is to speak in a language that is native to them, Remix is being launched in the proud tradition of the rich and vibrant culture that is hip-hop. We intimately understand this culture at Remix because we are of it. We live and breathe it every day and we are walking, talking examples and role models of the power that hip-hop has to educate, inspire and involve.”

A number of government agencies, community organizations and businesses have been instrumental in the development of the Remix Project by providing funding, resources, time and advice. The Remix Project funders and partners to date include: National Crime Prevention Centre, Ontario Trillium Foundation, the United Way of Greater Toronto, City of Toronto, Toronto Arts Council, Canadian Heritage, Laidlaw Foundation, LAMP Community Health Centre, Humber College, FLOW 93.5, IBM Canada, Schools Without Borders, Artscape and Verdiroc Development Corporation.

“It’s been nothing short of astonishing to see the day when public, private and academic institutions rally around a project developed by youth,” said Kehinde Bah. “The spirit of collaboration and partnership has already made the Remix Project a great success.”

The Remix Project corresponds to one of the four key pillars of Toronto’s Community Safety Plan that calls for youth opportunities for education, employment, and engagement. The Community Safety Plan also focuses on a strong neighbourhoods strategy, a community crisis response program, and youth justice initiatives that balance enforcement with prevention.

Media contacts:

Stuart Green
Office of Mayor David Miller

Denise Campbell
Toronto Social Development
Finance & Administration

Kehinde Bah
The Remix Project



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