Rania El Muggamar, an artist and equity consultant for contemporary art spaces received $10,000 from ArtReach in 2016 to support her project, “Womxn’s Work: BIWOC Artists of Toronto”.
The project was composed of a web series, podcasts and workshops on media/ artist development to increase media literacy capacities of artists and give them training to improve their craft and better tell their stories. The project gives BIWOC (Black, Indigenous, and Womxn of Colour) mentoring, networking opportunities and skills to engage in the community and build themselves as artists.
When it came to podcasts, Rania says “there was a learning curve” for her as well as the people who attended the workshops when it came to technology and digital mediums, but that everyone was able to collectively learn along the way. The podcasts were meant to connect youth artists with people similar to them, and she believes that her project did this.
Through her work, Rania supports intersectional feminism, community building initiatives, and anti-oppression efforts. She says that there are gaps in documenting BIWOC artists and their art, and wanted to create a space for the underrepresented. Rania says that normally “there are projects for the underrepresented but not by them”, and wanted to collaborate with ArtReach change that. To do this, she communicated and consulted with these groups in order to change the narrative.
With the help of ArtReach and in-kind donations from the community, “Womxn’s Work” was able to give access to meaningful artistic and leadership opportunities to people who would not normally get support, such as youth in the community. She was happy to see people engaging and learning digital communication strategies.
I asked Rania what her advice would be for emerging artists in underrepresented communities and youth who want to engage in community arts. Rania says, “Your social capital is just as important as your funding. People are very generous as long as you reach out and are interested on promoting yourself and your craft”. The first step, she advises, would be to attend free workshops, such as the ones offered by collectives and individuals that ArtReach supports and network.
As for what’s next, Rania is working on the Inclusivity Committee for Toronto For Everyone, which focuses on looking at contemporary racism and Toronto as a city that can be a global model for inclusivity, community and social innovation.
Author: Ally Nohos