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Home /  Exhibitions / Past Exhibitions / Community Arts Space: Community Is Essential
Person in the studio glazing

Community Arts Space: Community Is Essential

Sat Nov 28, 2020 to Jan 03, 2021, All Day

Established in 2016, Community Arts Space (CAS) is the Gardiner’s incubator for arts-based community projects that build community through clay making.

This year, we invited Turtle House, FCJ Refugee Centre, and ArtHeart to engage youth, adults, and seniors in clay workshops in connection with the theme “Community is Essential.” When the Museum temporarily closed as a result of COVID-19, we reimagined CAS as a series of community activities that connected participants to one another through artistic production despite their physical isolation.

The Gardiner coordinated the distribution of over 90 clay packages to our three CAS partner organizations, as well as Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. From June to August, participants from Turtle House and FCJ Refugee Centre’s Youth Group met weekly over Zoom for clay workshops that provided them with new art skills and a digital space to stay connected.

With the reopening of the Museum in July, our all three of our community partners were able to safely access our clay studios for in-person instruction by artist educators Aitak Sorahitalab and Adam Williams, creating work that speaks to themes of comfort, care, and hope.

While a presentation of the work was scheduled to take place in the Exhibition Hall from November 28, 2020 – January 3, 2021, with our temporary closure effective, we have instead populated this page with images of the finished works and project documentation in the form of an online exhibitions, a digital catalogue, and a video.

If you enjoy this free virtual access to the Community Arts Space project, please consider making a donation to the Museum that will support our work of building community with clay.

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Digital Exhibitions


Click here to download the digital catalogue


Our Partners

Turtle House Art/Play Centre is an organization designed primarily for children and families from refugee backgrounds to explore their creativity, play, express themselves, and make meaningful connections. Turtle House envisions and is dedicated to playing a vital role in building a Toronto where refugees and immigrants are welcomed, arts flourish in every neighbourhood, and people are encouraged to explore their creativity. Learn more

FCJ Refugee Centre serves refugees and others at risk due to their immigration status, and welcomes anyone asking for advice, counsel, and support regarding their refugee or immigration claim process. Learn more

ArtHeart provides free visual arts education, programs, materials, and healthy snacks to the children and youth, as well as hot, nutritious meals to adults and seniors living in Regent Park and the surrounding neighbourhoods. ArtHeart offers participants a supportive environment in which they can create and learn, build self-esteem, and develop life skills. Learn more


Aitak Sorahitalab
Aitak Sorahitalab is a visual artist, art instructor, and art manager with more than 15 years’ experience in the field. She holds a Master’s degree in Design and Production in Applied Arts from The Art University of Tehran. She has participated in several exhibitions of her artwork, and was commissioned to create public art in Iran and Toronto. Aitak works with various art organizations in the city and is the co-founder and Executive Director of Airsa, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing newcomers with professional development in the arts sector.

Adam Williams
Adam Williams is the studio owner of Clay Space. He studied painting and drawing at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, but finished his degree at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad in 2010. His most recent work has focused on architectural models as a metaphor for vision and aspiration. He is particularly interested in the intentions of designer homes and communities versus the lived experiences of their inhabitants.

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