After 2 months of weekly painting workshops, the young artists of MirrorMe finally had their chance to show off all their hard work at The “A” Show, held at SKETCH Studios (Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw St.) on Thursday June 18th. Their art was included amongst dozens of other projects similarly funded by Platform A, an initiative of the Toronto Arts Council empowering emerging artists from diverse backgrounds working in community to get their innovative ideas off the ground. The initiative unites staple Toronto arts organizations Art Starts, Jumblies Theatre, Arts for Children and Youth, SKETCH, and CUE. While artists are affiliated with one or the other organization for the purposes of the grant (ours was with Art Starts), one fantastic bonus of linking these platforms is the rich connections artists stand to make to other like-minded individuals doing great work all across the city.
Poonam Sharma and I, lead facilitators of MirrorMe, arrived at 6 pm to take part in an opening ceremony where fellow microgrant recipients could meet and greet. The show officially opened at 7 pm. The crowds were significant, and performances by various grantees ran throughout the evening including poetry, hip hop, and acoustic musical acts. It was exciting to see the great range of talent and accomplishment apparent in these young artists and the passion and enthusiasm they clearly brought to the stage. Poonam and I were also later interviewed by CBC Radio’s Morgan Passi, and we look forward of sharing the details of that exchange before the broadcast airs!
We were delighted that the very gifted members of the Hassan family, participants in MirrorMe, joined us later than night – Muneer, Mehdia, and Maryam have been essential to the success of our workshop, contributing their love of the arts and solid work ethic throughout its course. Mehdia and Maryam are also leaders of Serendipity Visual Arts, an amazingly dynamic workshop series run out of St. James Town’s own Community Corner. Having received one ArtReach grant to conduct Serendipity, they will be applying once again to today’s grant deadline and we wish them the very best of luck for a successful application!
Thanks to all the folks who helped Poonam and I from beginning to end with the MirrorMe project including (but not limited to) Arts Starts’ Kim Dayman and Julian Carvajal, St. James Town Arts’ Michael Cavanaugh, all the nice staff at Community Matters that helped facilitate our room booking needs, Platform A and the Toronto Arts Council for this great initiative, and of course, our participants Rabia, Ramzia, Sahna, Zarina, Muneer, Mehdia, and Maryam without whom there would have been no workshop!