November is ‘Community Arts Month’ at Art City!

Art City children make a 3-D Mural.

Art City in St. James Town is a not-for-profit storefront committed to providing after-school art programs to children of elementary school age to foster creative thinking, self-esteem, entrepreneurship, and personal accomplishments.

Art City children  creating a sculpture city.

During my Art City visit, Gillian Foster, the Artistic Director at Art City, and I picked up three elementary school children from school, and walked them back to Art City. The after-school pick up is an example of how Art City tries to accommodate the needs of the parents in its after-school programs. St. James Town is Canada’s most densely populated community, and is surrounded by 19 high-rise residential buildings that were built in the 1960s. In this community of approximately 17, 000 people, more than two- thirds are recent immigrants and almost 90% of families living in the neighbourhood have incomes below the citywide average. Many St. James Town residents have difficulty engaging with the wider Toronto community, and are therefore at higher risk of negative social outcomes, so Art City opened in December 2000 to provide the children of St. James Town a positive environment.

St. James Town is Canada’s most densely populated community, and is surrounded by 19 high-rise residential buildings that were built in the 1960s. In this community of approximately 17, 000 people, more than two- thirds are recent immigrants and almost 90% of families living in the neighbourhood have incomes below the citywide average.

There has been an increase in Art City’s registration and the art programs are continuing to grow. During the month of April 2010, Art City had 274 students enrolled in its arts programs, which is a 27% increase from last year.

‘Our City, Our Stories’: 3-D mural celebrating the diversity in St.James Town.

This month’s theme is ‘Community Arts’ and Art City has been expanding its literary arts program. Because Art City is funded on a project basis, it has a voluntary board of directors, accountant, web designer, helpers and community members who donate their time.

Gillian says, “I know we are making a difference when I see the children’s face light up once they have completed their art projects. The completed projects are hung up in our Art City ‘gallery’ for everyone to see, and the children love coming and finding their artwork and sharing with family and friends.”

I know we are making a difference when I see the children’s face light up once they have completed their art projects. The completed projects are hung up in our Art City ‘gallery’ for everyone to see, and the children love coming and finding their artwork and sharing with family and friends.

Indoor Mural Painting: ‘Starry Night City’

Art City is located at 545 Sherbourne St. and is open between 4-6 p.m. on weekdays, except Tuesdays, and conducts weekend and summer programs. Learn more about Art City and its programs here. View more of the children’s art work at the Art City Facebook page.

Aasana Sri is the Fall 2010 Communications Intern at the Toronto Arts Foundation.

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One thought on “November is ‘Community Arts Month’ at Art City!

  1. Pingback: Spotlight on St. James Town |

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