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Crafting Narrative features artworks by members of YWCA Toronto’s Inspirations Studio, a unique low-barrier ceramics program in Toronto for women and gender diverse people who have experienced marginalization. Studio members made the works on view in the exhibition in a series of workshops led by local ceramic artists Marissa Y Alexander, Shary Boyle, Marc Egan, Lindsay Montgomery, and Julie Moon. Each artist shared their particular approach, which the participants adapted to their own ways of making. The series sought to strengthen technical skills, broaden conceptual strategies, and build professional networks.
For many Inspirations Studio members, intersecting modes of marginalization and the lack of accessible art spaces in the GTA have hindered their opportunities for artistic growth. This workshop series also aimed to address this imbalance. Presenting the resulting artworks at the Gardiner Museum highlights the work of Inspirations Studio and its members, while offering space for new narratives to emerge.
Inspirations Studio was founded in 1994 to provide studio access, storefront selling opportunities, arts education, and professional training opportunities to women who have experienced multiple forms of marginalization. The Studio’s core mission is to contribute to improving women’s lives through the making and selling of pottery. Through creative, therapeutic and skill-building work, women gain self-confidence and stability while connecting to community. Studio members also gain a source of supplemental income and find a new way to engage with the world as makers.
Art—and ceramics in particular—can bring change and offer healing, while giving people purpose, pride, passion, and joy.
In July 2022, Inspirations Studio became a program of YWCA Toronto, with a workshop and storefront space in a newly finished YWCA building on Church Street.
The Crafting Narrative workshops are sponsored by the Ontario Arts Council and The Toronto Arts Council.
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