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Introducing this year’s Community Arts Space partners

clay butterfly
9 months ago

Summer is fast approaching, which means that the Community Arts Space is returning for another season of free community-led art projects! This year, we invited local artists, makers, organizers, and residents to propose projects inspired by the theme “What we long for,” envisioning the different ways that we can shape the futures we desire through art and clay.

The four selected projects will transform the Museum for the summer, presenting immersive, socially-engaged programming and exhibitions inspired by the ways that we can take care of ourselves, as well as each other.

Here’s a look at this year’s Community Arts Space partners, and a sneak peek at what they’ll be bringing to the Gardiner this summer:

The Youth Project: VIBE Arts
Co-presented by Art Starts | Project Advisor: SoJin Chun

Three young women working on wigs

VIBE Arts is an award-winning charitable organization committed to providing children and youth in under-resourced communities with high-quality community and school-based arts education. Led by artist Igho Diana, VIBE Arts will recreate a contemporary beauty salon that explores self-care and how concepts of beauty have evolved through time and cultures. Titled Hair We Are, the project features a series of self-care, hair care, and storytelling workshops with young women at Art Starts’ main hub in Yorkdale Shopping Centre, culminating in a final interactive exhibition at the Gardiner. Learn more

Podcast Project: Art Movements

Shary Boyle - God's Eye

Hyperallergic is a forum for playful, serious, and radical perspectives on art and contemporary culture. Art Movements, hosted by co-founder/editor-in-chief Hrag Vartanian, is Hyperallergic’s leading art podcast, connecting the general public to the diverse stories of art around the world. Inspired by the Gardiner’s collection, this commissioned series invites prominent artists and cultural figures to explore the social history of ceramic objects and their multifaceted role in our culture. Learn more

The Transformative Justice Project: Abdi Osman and Ellyn Walker
Co-presented by the 519 | Project Advisor: Nataleah Hunter-Young

Philosopher's Walk at Queen's Park

Abdi Osman is a Somali-Canadian multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on questions of black masculinity as it intersects with Muslim and queer identities. Ellyn Walker is a curator and scholar based in the place now known as Toronto, where her work focuses on the politics of representation, inclusion and visibility in the arts and visual culture more broadly. Inspired by the latent ‘cruising’ histories of Queen’s Park, Osman and Walker present Intimate Encounters ~ Animate Histories, a multi-faceted arts project that considers how culturally-specific experiences of desire and connection take up space. Learn more

Artists in Residence: Lourdes (Lumy) Fuentes and Tina Conlon
Co-presented by Akin | Project Advisor: Catherine Tammaro

Clay butterfly

Born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Lourdes (Lumy) Fuentes migrated to Canada in 2010 and is an active participant in the community of Davenport Perth Neighborhood and Community Health Centre as a member, volunteer, and facilitator of art and health programs.

Tina Conlon emigrated from the Philippines in her late teens in 1972 and has been actively engaged as a community organizer in a variety of non-profit, charitable, and development organizations.

Together, Fuentes and Conlon are presenting The Sin Fronteras Monarch Butterfly Project – A Flight Path Without Borders, a series of clay-making workshops inspired by the monarch butterfly’s yearly migration, considering how their flight can be seen as a way to mobilize conversation and action around the global migrant crisis. Learn more

The Community Arts Space takes place at the Gardiner from July 11 – September 4. Explore the full lineup of free exhibitions and programming here.

Neighbourhood Hubs


The 519 is committed to the health, happiness, and full participation of the LGBTQ2S community. A City of Toronto agency and a registered charity with an innovative model of Service, Space and Leadership, The 519 strives to make a real difference in people’s lives while working to promote inclusion, understanding, and respect.

Akin logo

Akin is a Toronto-based arts organization that provides affordable studio space as well as arts-based programming through its sister non-profit organization, Akin Projects. Akin provides space to nearly 250 visual artists, designers, and creatives in studios that maintain a friendly and inspiring atmosphere where people can work on creative endeavors and entrepreneurial undertakings of all kinds. Akin builds community through monthly art critiques, free or low-cost workshops, open studio events, gallery tours, exhibitions, as well as various other projects.

For 25 years, Art Starts programs have benefited thousands of people living in marginalized Toronto neighbourhoods by providing a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for self-expression and creative collaboration. They afford opportunities for vulnerable people of all ages to contribute to the creative ecology of their neighbourhoods, using the arts to help end the negative cycles associated with marginalization and poverty.

Community Partners

Canada Nos Une Multicultural Organization

Salon Noir

YYZ Artists Outlet

Images: [1] The Sin Fronteras Monarch Butterfly Project – A Flight Path Without Borders workshop [2] Hair We Are workshop at Art Starts [3] Shary Boyle, God’s Eye, 2012 – 2015, Gift of the Artist [4] Philosopher’s Walk. Photo: Abdi Osman [5] The Sin Fronteras Monarch Butterfly Project – A Flight Path Without Borders workshop

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