Manifesto was announced as the winner of the Arts for Youth Award, a $15,000 cash prize that celebrates an individual, collective or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to engaging Toronto youth in the arts; here’s a quick refresher on what all the amazing finalist organizations do for our communities:
Arts Starts seeks to build healthier communities using the arts, and offers responsive and relevant creative opportunities to those living in underserved neighbourhoods. It brings together professional artists with people from various neighbourhoods and creates projects and programs in all artistic media, with all ages, with artists and participants from various ethnic backgrounds. It reflects the cultures of the neighbourhood and builds bridges among them. They also function as an advocacy and referral organization for the artists with whom they work.
SOY uses an anti-oppression framework to create opportunities for queer and trans youth and adults to build an inclusive, welcoming community together. The annual success of SOY’s photography and writing workshops, as well as their youth arts festival each year at Pride, prove that through artistic processes, marginalized youth are able to explore and expand their reality, and engage with the world in ways that are creative, innovative and exciting.
Manifesto’s origin lies in hip hop culture, and it showcases diverse local artists and uses art to inspire social change – to transform conflict into creativity, adversity into opportunity, and oppression into expression. In addition to the annual festival which showcases over three hundred artists, Manifesto organizes public town hall meetings at City Hall, “Know Your Craft” and “Up In Your Business” arts education and professional development workshops, arts exhibitions, and other fundraising events typically centered around the youth arts sector. At the Mayor’s Awards Lunch, Che Kothari, Manifesto’s Executive Director said, “Arts and culture is a powerful platform for young people and artists; hip hop was a voice for the voiceless.”
There are plenty of positive changes that community-based organizations have achieved with your help. Support your community.
Aasana Sri is the current Communications Intern with the Toronto Arts Foundation