AVNU Celebrates the ICE Program!


Photo Cred: Rainier Bustamante for Molotov Productions


On October 16, 2016, AVNU was able to host youth arts performances and short film screening for the New Voices Showcase, part of Rutas Panamericanas International Performing Arts Festival.The festival was produced by Aluna Theatre in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts, at Artscape Daniels Spectrum- AKI Studio.

The event opened with a land acknowledgement led by Yolanda Bonnell, and words of welcome by Rutas Ambassador Nico Contreras and AVNU staff Joseph Recinos. The audience enjoyed musical performances by Briana Olsen, and Jorge Cantor; readings by Melisse Watson, and Ilana Divertman; a movement piece by Alexandra Barbarena; and a collaborative Traditional and Hip Hop dance performance by Briana Olsen and Jared Robillard.

AVNU also premiered the short film, Breaking the ICE, which documents our Spring 2016 province-wide work. Videographer Rainier Bustamante documented the work the ICE crew in Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie, Thunder Bay, and Manitoulin, Ontario throughout the course of our Information-Culture-Exchange (ICE) program.

The goals of the ICE program are to connect and establish meaningful relationships with organizations/individuals committed to grassroots education initiatives for youth. This involved engaging young activators and organizations from communities outside of the GTA to provide tools and trainings to aid in and further grassroots initiatives already present in these local communities. The project also sought promising practices to bring back to Toronto for AVNU partners to potentially share and use as resources, practices that deliver unique content (community focused, creative, with a mandate for positive social change) through unique methods of teaching (participatory methods rooted in people’s direct experiences).

The film also featured ICE workshop facilitators Judi Lopez, Yolanda Bonnell, Jermaine Henry, who all spoke at the October 16th screening to their experiences working with ICE. Key messages from the facilitators centered around positive change through the power of art, and the promotion of learning about the self through interaction with others, and the need to listen to youths’ voices.

“The future is youth- we need to start listening”

*AVNU is a collaborative of 9 grassroots organizations: ArtReach, Manifesto, Grassroots Youth Collaborative, SKETCH Working Arts, Nia Centre for the Arts, Neighbourhood Arts Network, Schools Without Borders, the Toronto Youth Cabinet, and the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy. Learn more at www.avnu.ca

Youth Arts Pitch Contest Lights Up North York!

Paulina O’Kieffe – ArtReach Director

All Photos credited to Anora Graham

On Thursday October 6th, the Youth Arts Pitch Contest brought a whole new energy to the Toronto Centre for the Arts. The Contest is a signature project of the Cultural Hot Spot, which shines a spotlight on arts, culture and community in a particular neighborhood each year in order to inspire new ideas about where culture thrives in Toronto. This year’s Hotspot was North York.

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2016 Grantee Profile: Beautiful Minds


Cassey Andrews – ArtReach Intern

Beautiful Minds is new to the program scene.  Developed in 2016, its intention has been the promotion of self-care and mindfulness paired with the demotion of stigma surrounding mental health.  Nicole D’Souza, the founder of Beautiful Minds, notes, “Negative mental health can be things in normal circumstances, like taking a test – let’s cope with that!”  The program looks for new techniques that foster a positive mental health state, because, well, not everyone just wants to talk about stuff.

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2016 Grantee Profile: Piece of Mine


Cassey Andrews – ArtReach Intern

Living Black Genius is a program designed to illuminate the living Black Canadian geniuses of today.  Created out of the necessity for adequate representations of Black Canadian role models beyond the minimal depiction in the media, Natasha, the founder of Living Black Genius, explained, “the stereotype would be a rapper, musician, entertainer, or athlete … when we asked the kids in our program who a Black Canadian role model (was), we got blank stares – and Drake.”

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ArtReach x TYES: Applying to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) Workshop


Date: Thursday, March 10th, 2016
Registration/Food: 5:45 pm
Workshop Start Time: 6:00pm SHARP!
Location: Toronto City Hall, Committee Room #3 (100 Queen St. W)
RSVP: HERE (Space is limited, so register now!)
*This workshop is for youth ages 13-29.

Are you an artist looking to access bigger contracts? Are you interested in applying to do arts based work for the City of Toronto? Do you have ideas on how to create communications materials that are more appealing to young people in the City?

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