The Community Arts Guild makes art of all sorts with diverse artists and residents in Scarborough: connecting those separated from each other because of distance, language, income, age, culture and/or ability; inviting everyone, especially those who face barriers to participation; discovering and celebrating the traditions we all bring along; and building inclusive community through artmaking.
Working in Scarborough since 2012, we partner with local residents and organizations in the area to:
- Research, develop, create and produce arts projects.
- Design activities and projects that respond to the requests and interests of collaborating community members, artists, and partners.
- Share skills and develop arts practice among artists and community members through workshops, events, performances and celebrations.
- Remove barriers to participation by providing activities free of cost, taking them into accessible locations, helping with food, translation, transportation and childcare.
- Participate in training and mentorship opportunities and offer placements and employment for learners in community arts.
- Build and contribute to opportunities for people to come together across diversities 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 (indoors and out) music, dance, culinary and textile arts, and film.
We are based in Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park and our activities are centred in this neighbourhood, but we also travel to other places in Scarborough and beyond. Our office and studios are located 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.
Major projects include:
- School projects: Journey to Changeland (2013) and Silk Thread Project (2015);
- Theatre production Train Payanam: workshop 2013, full production 2015 toured to local health centre The Hub and to Young People’s Theatre;
- Annual 2-week interactive gallery exhibitions at Cedar Ridge;
- INTERLACING interactive textile art installation: Signature project for Cultural Hotspot 2018 and part of Nuit Blanche Scarborough zone;
- Malvern Public Library residency in fall 2018: part of TAC Artists in the Library program;
- Ongoing development of new large-scale community-engaged theatre performance at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre.
Our organization and work in the neighbourhood grew out of a residency undertaken by Jumblies Theatre from 2009-2012. We continue in a collegial and often-collaborative relationship with Jumblies, in a network of independently-incorporated and distinctive “offshoots” and partners.
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.