The Community Arts Guild makes art of all sorts with people in East Scarborough: connecting people separated from each other because of distance, language, income, age, culture or ability; inviting everyone, including those who may not normally have the opportunity to participate; celebrating and discovering the traditions we all bring along; and building community through our art-making.
We work in partnership with local residents and other organizations in the neighbourhood to:
- Research, develop, create and produce art projects.
- Design art activities and projects that respond to the requests and interests of collaborating community members, artists, and partners.
- Share skills and develop arts practice amongst artists and community members through workshops, events, performances and celebrations.
- Make our art activities accessible by removing barriers to participation: providing activities free of cost, taking art activities into different locations, or helping with food, translation, transportation or childcare.
- Participate in training and mentorship opportunities and offer placements for learners in the arts and community building.
- Build and contribute to opportunities for people to come together through artmaking within our neighbourhood and beyond.
Our artwork is often performance-based, and we collaborate across disciplines and traditions, particularly exploring intersections of performance and design. We draw on theatre, puppetry, projection and shadow play, installation art (both indoors and out), playwriting, song writing, sound experimentation, culinary and textile arts, and film.
The Community Arts Guild is currently based at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre as part of the City of Toronto’s Arts Services Live Arts Hub. Come and visit us at the Gardener’s Cottage.
The seeds of the Community Arts Guild were first planted in 2008, when Jumblies Theatre began a multi-year residency at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre in the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park neighbourhood of East Scarborough. Following a culminating large-scale production in 2011 that concluded the residency, several core artists who had been involved in the project decided to stay in the neighbourhood and start a new organization in order to continue working with the community.
In 2012, the Community Arts Guild launched its first independent project, the Lost & Found Triptych, and was awarded independent funding from all three levels of arts council to develop the work.
The Lost & Found Triptych is a series of three performance works, inspired by stories from local Tamil Seniors about things lost and found. The pieces include a radio play, a short film, and a play with puppets, songs and dance. In May 2013 we presented the three artworks in different stages of completion at The Lost & Found Evolving Gallery, at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre, in collaboration with Jumblies Theatre.
Out of the Triptych evolved our first full community play, Train Payanam (Train Journey). We mounted a workshop production of Train Payanam in November 2013 at a local health centre called The Hub Mid-Scarborough, and presented the finished production in April 2015 at The Hub Mid-Scarborough and the Young People’s Theatre.
In January 2014 we also began development for a new project, CAMPFIRES, for which we gathered stories about legacies. In the spring of 2014 we offered activities and presented our fifth annual evolving gallery at Cedar Ridge focusing on the CAMPFIRES themes and imagery. We are now continuing research and development along these lines with a view to creating our next major production, a large-scale outdoor community-engaged performance.