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August 3, 2006
From graphic art narratives to urban music: Live With Culture launches the Community Arts Initiatives
Toronto’s Live With Culture campaign will animate 16 Community Arts Initiatives in Toronto’s at-risk communities.

“The Live With Culture Community Arts Initiatives play a great role in developing our communities and the individuals within them,” said Mayor David Miller. “We have all seen the power of art: performers and audience members alike learn new ways to view themselves and the world around them. This can only strengthen individuals and their communities to build a better city.”

“The Community Arts Initiatives engage youth in our community and will inspire a new generation,” said Rita Davies, Executive Director of Toronto Culture. “The forms of art created - from dub poetry to video making - reflect the newest forms of art that are embraced by young people.”

These projects, conducted by groups such as Expect Theatre, Art of Jazz, Beatz to da Streetz, Dub Poets Collective and Mural Routes, aim to empower youth, while giving them the skills necessary to excel in their art. The complete program overview and project descriptions can be found at

Each one of the 16 community arts initiatives culminates in a performance or public display:

1. 4UNity Productions: Black and white photography workshops for youth in Parkdale.

2. Afro-Caribbean Dance Group: Dance and drumming classes for children, youth and adults in Scarborough. A final performance was held at Fairview Library Theatre of “Morena Osha”, an Afro-centred adaptation of The Wizard of Oz.

3. Art of Jazz: An eight-week jazz music education program to benefit children and youth within San Romanoway and the wider Jane-Finch community. The program is led by international jazz master Barry Harris, in conjunction with San Romanoway Revitalization Association.

4. Beatz to da Streetz: Urban music program in East York that leverages the powerful connection between young people and music to promote opportunities for increasing self-esteem, development of creative expression, building life skills, opening opportunities for professional mentorship, education and income generation for homeless and underserved youth.

5. Blues Harmonica in the Schools: Blues musician and educator Mark Stafford teaches the blues harmonica to schoolchildren in four underserved Toronto neighbourhoods.

6. Culture Fest: A summer festival showcasing the multicultural, multi-disciplinary talents that originate from artists living in the Malvern and Scarborough areas.

7. Delisle Youth Services: Video-making workshops for LGBTQ youth. The workshops will build skills including team brainstorming of ideas, project development, story telling, lighting, sound, editing and distribution.

8. Dub Poets Collective: Workshops in dub poetry for youth in collaboration with UrbanArts.

9. Expect Theatre. UrbanNOISE is the finale of workshops that fuse popular hip-hop culture with social activism to create a theatre/performance festival highlighting local talent in the Rexdale and Jamestown communities. In collaboration with Arts Etobicoke.

10. Mural Routes: A one-day festival in Scarborough composed of workshops in graffiti art. The event will include onsite demonstrations, technical skills development, instruction in the theory of graffiti art (including the difference between “tagging” and “art”) and health and safety considerations for artists.

11. Native Child and Family Services: With workshops in drama, drumming and song, the project explores the distinctive cultural roots of the Kingston-Galloway community, and focuses on the strengths inherent in each person as a means of fostering greater self-worth and self-esteem.

12. North Etobicoke Revitalization Project: Workshops in the art and history of Manga, followed by a publication of a Manga ‘zine. In collaboration with Albion Neighbourhood Services.

13. Pelham Park Youth Resource Centre: Mask-making workshops led by mask artist Pamela Schuller. The workshops take place twice a week in the Pelham, Symington and Davenport communities.

14. Rainbow Songs: Music programs for parents and children staying in women and family shelters across Toronto. The combination of movement and actions with songs encourages literacy and numeracy in children.

15. Scarborough Writers’ Association: Youth Short Story Contest targeted at youth in underserved neighbourhoods in Scarborough. The prize-winning stories will be published in an anthology of short stories. In collaboration with Scarborough Arts Council.

16. Sirius Theatrical Company: “Dreamweavers” - an intergenerational, multi-disciplinary, cultural animation project that will engage people of all ages and cultures with an emphasis on youth in South Etobicoke. The program includes poems, stories and a performance that will be infused with dance, music and visual art. In collaboration with Lakeshore Arts.

Live With Culture is a 16-month celebration of Toronto’s extraordinary arts and cultural communities, shining a spotlight on the vibrant and diverse activities happening in the city each and every day. From September 2005 until the end of 2006, Live With Culture showcases the vast scope of the city’s culture of creativity and inspires Torontonians to make culture part of their daily lives. How do you live with culture? Visit, the ultimate guide to Toronto’s culture scene.

Media contact:

Rita Davies
Executive Director
Toronto Culture



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