A Year to Connect
Our 2020 Story: Staying Connected W
e are certain that many, if not all of you, have the same thoughts and feelings that we do when it comes to this past year: 2020 was a challenging, exhausting, frustrating and confusing time. When the pandemic hit, we were devastated. It’s a very hard thing to be asked to stay away from family, friends and neighbours, and as a community arts organization, we were most worried about the loss of in-person connections that are so vital to healthy communities, and the resulting mental, physical and emotional impacts on the people that we serve.
nd so, we got to work. We worked hard to pivot and think about the ways we could continue to serve community members across east Toronto, and how we could help keep people connected, despite the new challenges that physical distancing restrictions imposed. While many of our original plans for 2020 were no longer feasible, we quickly discovered that with a little bit of Zoom magic, some creative at-home delivery systems, PPE masks and social media creativity, we were able to design programs and digital initiatives that could give people a safe space to use art to process the pandemic, while remaining connected to other people across our city.
e are so proud of the ways we created and grew this year while remaining true to our values and our mission: to unite, inspire and enhance the communities of east Toronto with the transformative power of the arts. With the help of supporters like you and our family of partners, Food 4 Thought, Summerville Stories, BYOBeads and Girls Mural Camp 2020 are just some of the programs and initiatives that we developed during the
pandemic to keep some of the most vulnerable members in our communities connected and supported. In this light, 2020 has given us so much hope. We know that hyper-local, intimate community arts programs such as these, in neighbourhoods all across the east end, will be crucial for rebuilding the social and cultural life of our city. We also know that as we move forward, we will remain committed to working in a hybrid in-person and digital way, ultimately changing how we work, where we work, and how we design programs for the future. We are eager to continue exploring this new direction into 2021 and beyond.
nd so, if you’ve been with us since the very beginning of our journey in 2013 as east Toronto’s local arts service organization, or if you’ve just joined us this past year, we can’t thank you enough for supporting the work we do! For us, the real 2020 story has been about staying positive, staying focussed, but above all else, staying connected. We hope you’ll continue reading as we look back on the chapters that gave us so much hope and optimism in 2020. Sincerely,
Shana Hillman Executive Director, East End Arts
David Carey Board President, East End Arts
Our Vision: East End Arts’ vision is to unite, inspire and enhance the communities of east Toronto with the transformative power of the arts.
Our Mission: East End Arts is committed to cultivating an arts community in the east end of Toronto that helps to increase arts engagement opportunities, and support local artists in our community.
Our Values: Inclusion & Accessibility Creativity & Innovation Collaboration & Generosity Well-being & Understanding Sustainability & Responsibilty
Chapter One: ArtMEETS Making, Creating and Exploring Together in the Winter
et’s start our first chapter way back, all the way back to before we knew about social distancing, PPE, and maybe even before we washed our hands quite so obsessively. Before the world changed we managed to run a full series of one of our favourite programs, with a few of our favourite artists.
rtMEETS is our annual series of arts workshops and experiences that offer fun, engaging, and accessible opportunities for community members to make, explore, experience, transform, and share! Led by a mix of emerging and experienced arts facilitators, each workshop provides participants with a chance to learn a new arts skill, meet and build connections with community members, and find creative ways for self expression - all while having fun! This Winter Edition featured previous ArtMEETS facilitators - a sort of “best of” series to help community members beat the winter blues: Sarah Bennett, Jerry Silverberg, Johanna Thompson, Christine Walker, Hanan Hazime and Natalie Very B! In total, 112 community members participated in 6 workshops (in person, remember that?), making meaningful connections with other participants, and learning valuable arts skills. Offering facilitators another opportunity to lead their existing workshop was a well received form of professional development, and this was also the first application of a higher price 6 point, which was still universally seen as an incredible value!
“I found this workshop to be very inspiring and thought these techniques could be very successful for lots of people. I can use this with my students even!” - ArtMEETS Workshop Participant
“I thoroughly enjoyed getting together with people who like to be artistic. It was nice meeting the ladies I was sitting with at our table and networking about where to buy supplies. Well done to the instructor and the people who were helping facilitate this great event!” - ArtMEETS Workshop Participant
Chapter Two: BYOBeads Making an Important Digital Space for Indigenous Creators
ed by Queer Metis bead-artist, novelist, & film-maker, Adam Garnet Jones, BYOBeads started in the late fall of 2019 as a way for some artists to get together at St. Matthew’s Clubhouse to relax, chat and bead. When the pandemic hit, it seemed almost too logical to shift this program online, and as it turns out, this was the most ideal setting for this program to thrive. This past year BYOBeads has grown to become a unique online beading circle that not only brings together Indigenous artists and their allies from all across North America, but also one that celebrates a broad range of Indigenous artistry.
hanks to our new co-presenter, Native Women in the Arts, BYOBeads officially began welcoming monthly Indigenous guest artists from multidisciplinary art forms to share their work at our beading circles. Since June of 2020, we welcomed seven guest artists from disciplines as diverse as fashion, memoire, podcasting and more to share their stories with a community of nearly 200 traditional, and LGBTQ+/ Two Spirit artists from all across Canada & the United States! Toronto, California, Saskatchewan, Montana; Algonquin, Dene, Cree, Ojibway, Métis: BYOBeads provides an important online community for many of our Indigenous participants, and we are eager to watch this program continue growing into 2021 and beyond.
“I am proud that we have created a space within East Toronto that not only provides a welcoming space for Indigenous bead artists, but one that can also be home to some of this generation’s most interesting Indigenous artists and thinkers.” - Adam Garnet Jones, Lead Facilitator
“A lot of us learned just sitting at the table with our aunties and moms and grandmas and this [circle] provides an alternative to that, especially for those who are growing up in the city or have been displaced,” - Sage Paul, Indigenous Guest Star & BYOBeads Participant.
“Who isn’t moved by songs, photographs, stories and/or design at least once a day? Think about it, whether you start your day with a favourite song alarm, or a drink in your favourite ceramic cup, art provides your first jolt of daily joy. Because 2020 has been such a difficult year, we’ve all sought solace in music, movies, puzzles, books and home decor, right? Thank gawd for artists! This year, more than ever, artists need support and encouragement, and the tireless East End Arts fosters those opportunities.” - Susana Molinolo, Monthly Donor & East End Artist 10
Chapter Three: Food 4 Thought Nourishing the Imaginations & Hearts of our Senior Residents
he COVID-19 pandemic has left many people in our communities isolated and alone, but the impact on senior residents has been profound. In June of 2020 we partnered with Applegrove Community Complex, the Neighbourhood Food Hub and the East End United Regional Ministry to present a new program that would be accessible for senior residents already accessing the Glen Rhodes Food Bank: Food 4 Thought! While weekly food hampers delivered by Neighbourhood Food Hub fed the bellies of senior residents in east Toronto, we were set on feeding their imaginations and hearts through this at-home art program focussed on self expression and social connection.
ood 4 Thought originated as a series of art kits and weekly art prompts to encourage seniors to journal or watercolour paint each week. The program then grew online, offering bi-monthly Zoom watercolour painting or collage classes with two of our talented artist facilitators! Over the course of 2020, we collaborated with 80 incredibly creative and remarkable seniors who shared their stories, their recipes and their artwork with us, and we are so happy to have made some lasting connections with these important members of our community.
“Thank you for all the work you do. Most of us who live in this senior’s residence are just trying to get through, you know? You are waking us up to new possibilities. Some of us are finding real sadness in this pandemic, so every little bit that you do let’s us know that we are still worth bothering about.” - Maggie, Food 4 Thought Participant
“I’m very grateful for having you people as a connection… it takes away the loneliness, which is very real, and I find myself wanting to reach out to those faces on Zoom.” - Gladys, Food 4 Thought Participant
The start of our Monthly Blog.
Winter Stations Art Pop-Ups Five sensethemed art workshops in the Beach Village BIA.
S P R I N G April - October
Feb - March
W I N T E R
Toronto Mycelial Network
Our digital initiative to grow an “invisible” network of mushrooms starts.
BYOBeads Beading circle with Adam Garnet Jones goes digital.
East End Spotlight Series
Our digital monthly spotlight series of artists & arts orgs starts.
Black Lives Matter
A crucial moment to reflect, change and move forward.
S U M June - December
The launch of our COVID-19 Resource webpage to provide support to our local artists & community members.
Sold out weekly art workshops at St. Matthew’s Clubhouse, for its first winter season.
April - December
March - April
Feb - March
Looking back on 2020...
BYOBeads Grows with Native Women in the Arts BYOBeads begins to welcome monthly guest Indigenous stars, like Joshua Whitehead!
Hosted by CBC’s Errol Nazareth, our outdoor concert series became an online chat & music series.
#East End Love 2.0
Our online initiative to help spread some love & inclusion online is born.
W I N T E R Holiday 2020 Gift Guide
The launch of our viral east Toronto gift guide via the #EEABlog.
East York Days: Behind The Music
The beautification of Danforth Avenue via five large-scale murals. Two to be completed in 2021.
An internal program with the residents at Don Summerville begins, featuring photography workshops.
F A L L
A three-week summer program for youth to explore street art & create a mural together.
Girls Mural Camp 2020
June - November
Our at-home art program for isolated seniors starts, focused on storytelling and recipe sharing.
M E R July - December
Food 4 Thought
Winter is Coming
A winterthemed online panel discussion about presenting art in the winter.
Nuit Blanche Online The Toronto Mycelial Network culminates at Nuit Blanche 2020 Online.
Chapter Four: Summerville Stories Celebrating a Longstanding East Toronto Community
hen we discovered the new development and revitalization plan for the Don Summerville Apartments, we saw an important opportunity to develop a project that would celebrate the community and history that had grown up there since the 1960s. We knew how important it could be for the social and mental health of the Summerville residents to have a way to celebrate their stories of place and home, so we got to work developing a partnership with Applegrove Community Centre, Toronto Community Housing Corporation, RioCan and Context Development to present Summerville Stories!
hat began as a summer program to help two dozen residents develop their skills as photographers and capture their “final summer in Summerville”, has now developed into a multi-year initiative to continue telling the stories of the community. To date, we’ve helped present a short video documentary; a series of photography workshops resulting in hundreds of community photos; and a series of interviews to gather the verbal stories and memories of dozens of Summerville residents. Together, we’ve created the beginnings of a community archive that can be used to tell the continuing story of a community in transition. It’s an honour to have been invited into Don Summerville, and we look forward to working with this 16 community for years to come!
“In my candid conversations with the tenants, I got to hear about their challenges living in Don Summerville, their fondest memories, and how they dealt with change. Each person had a different perspective, but a common theme of community belongingness has been rooted at the core of each of my conversations with them.” - Summerville Resident, and Interview Assistant, Hamdi Abdo
“My daughter has always been artsy. So this was a different way for her to express that side of her. And she loves to take pictures now. Like, all they want to do is take pictures, even my son, he has a tablet, he wants to take pictures of everything. So it has changed how they see everything that they’re taking pictures of. It’s beautiful to them.” - Shawna McLean, Summerville Resident
Chapter Five: #DESTINATIONDANFORTH Colouring Our Communities with Beauty & Hope
n response to the COVID-19 pandemic, #DestinationDanforth was created to support local businesses, restore consumer confidence, provide safe walking and cycling infrastructure, all while making our main street a more safe, spacious and beautiful destination. This initiative was all about bringing people back to places like the Danforth to support local east Toronto economies and to keep our communities strong and hopeful!
n collaboration with StreetARToronto, and with the support of the local BIAs including, Broadview Danforth BIA, The Danforth Mosaic BIA, and GreekTown BIA, East End Arts was elated to play a lead role in the beautification of Danforth Avenue via an ambitious public art plan. With three large-scale public art pieces installed in 2020, and another two to come in 2021, this project was an instant success! Murals responded to two key themes - ‘Gratitude, Resilience, Hope’, and ‘#EastEndLove’ – and have helped to transform the Danforth into an outdoor art gallery, giving residents and families beautiful, thought provoking art to look at and see themselves reflected in.
Monica Wickeler’s mural titled ‘Neighbourhood Love’ includes larger-than-life photos of real Danforth residents and commuters out on their busy days; Poser’s mural titled, ‘Colours of the Danforth’ incorporates prominent landmarks and establishments along the Danforth with open and welcoming front doors; and Elicser Elliott’s mural titled ‘Giants of the Danforth’ features people from the immediate community, including a little girl and her father who he witnessed from the Mosque next door at 975 Danforth Avenue.
“Public art transforms public space. Jack and I (my son) are regulars of the Danforth, and now when we’re out grocery shopping or on a bike ride or just walking through the neighbourhood, these murals really do brighten our day.” - Lanrick, East Ender who lives near Danforth Ave
hese significant pieces of art will not only serve as a specific window into history, capturing the feelings, moments and political movements of our year in a pandemic, but they will always serve as a beautiful reminder, even on our most anxious and worried days walking down the street: We may not always be able to gather in large groups, but we are always surrounded by beauty and love.
“Art is what keeps me going + I feel so fortunate to be connected with such an incredible organization like East End Arts. It is lovely to have such a passionate team that promotes local artists + arts initiatives, creates inclusive + accessible arts programming, and of course, spreads love to the community through art, connecting us even in these isolated, dark times.” - unicorn shannon, East End Artist 20
Chapter Six: Girls Mural Camp Empowering Youth to Explore the World of Street Art
emale voices are underrepresented in the street art world. In 2018, muralists Bareket Kezwer and Monica Wickeler came to East End Arts with a proposal to start a mural camp, and now that camp is in its third year. Girls Mural Camp (GMC) is an art camp for youth who self-identify as young women, girls, female, or non-binary to explore the history of street art, graffiti and murals, and develop their own individual artistic style. The camp always culminates with the co-creation of a street mural in east Toronto.
e were ecstatic to be able to present this program in August of 2020 in collaboration with the Riverside BIA. Led by two prominent femaleidentifying street artists, our ten youth participants were provided with appropriate safety gear, learned the ins and outs of mural making, and got to see firsthand the very real possibility of developing a potential career in the world of street art. We are so proud of GMC not only because we get to empower young women to smash into a male dominated field, but because it’s a program that continues to be needed. In our 2020 camp one of our participants was slightly late one day, which we later learned was because she had been harassed and followed by a man on the streetcar. Her experience made it clear to us why programs like this need to exist, and why we 22 need to keep creating safe spaces for young women and girls.
“Girls’ Mural Camp gave me an amazing opportunity to connect with the city artistically. Despite the pandemic, GMC created a safe and inspiring environment that allowed us girls to connect and expand our creative thinking. The experience has definitely given me the push I need to grow as an artist!” - Kennedy, Girls Mural Camp Participant
“The Girls Mural Camp gave me a chance to actually socialize with people I had never met. This was really important for me because I hadn’t done that in a long time because of the pandemic. This camp made my summer more exciting and interesting.” -Girls Mural Camp 23 Participant
Chapter Seven: Toronto Mycelial Network Building a Network of Resiliency and Connection, Online
hen the pandemic forced a blanket closure of our programs in March, we were faced with the challenge of keeping community members connected while remaining physically distant. Inspired by Miranda July’s “Learning to Love you More” (2002), The Toronto Mycelial Network was born as both as an online prompt and an at home art project to keep people connected digitally, while remaining safe in the comforts of home.
he prompt itself was simple: make any interpretation of a mushroom creation from supplies at home, and post a photo of it on social media with the hashtag #InvisibleNetworkTO. The motivation behind the project was multifaceted: to meditate on the nature of interconnectedness while we make something with our hands; to embrace principles of growth and change as we learn how to adapt during a pandemic; and ultimately to defy the narrative of our communities being disconnected, focusing on our resilience and determination to stay connected. From mushroom paintings to mushroom sculptures, from mushroom blankets to mushroom beadwork, hundreds of mushroom creations grew under our hashtag in 2020 thanks to the work and excitement of hundreds of makers, artists, mushroom hunters, and families all across our city! This project has reminded us over and over again that we are, in fact, all in this together. Thank 24 you to our sibling LASOs for supporting the project!
“In a time when we are so isolated - so distant from each other, it is imperative to remember that we are all connected. The importance of feeling connected to one another - like mycelium running across the forest floor - is more important than ever. I’m grateful to have you ALL in my invisible network.” - Ivory, Toronto Mycelial Network Participant
“Now that physical contact with others is out, many of us are remembering a deep love of nature, extending our need for intimacy back to our original Mother...There is a gorgeous hidden language, silenced under the din of city life, longing to be heard, and in this time of physical distancing, we are reuniting to our first true love,” - Kristen, Toronto Mycelial Network 25 Participant
Chapter Eight: Digital Initiatives Digital Leadership, Emerging from a Pandemic
his past year has given us all an opportunity to stop, reflect, and adapt. We recognized early on that to stay connected with our east Toronto communities we had to adapt in a strong digital way; however, we also recognized early on that we didn’t just want to follow the patterns and trends of where the arts sector was headed - we wanted to help lead it! And so, we embraced 2020 as an opportunity to innovate our sector through various digital initiatives.
n 2020 we introduced our new #EEABlog, a digital feature to share unique perspectives and ideas on a variety of timely arts topics; we co-created the ‘Community Arts Canopy’, an online group of Community Arts Organizations involved in advocacy meetings and discussions to help advance the practice of community art; we grew our monthly East End Spotlight Series, a digital initiative to shine a light on the hardworking artists and arts organizations that make east Toronto so incredible; we created our Artist Opportunities Group, an online space to share all types of quality opportunities with artists of all kinds and stages; and we launched unique online events, like our ‘Winter is Coming’ panel discussion and brainstorm session, which discussed ways to embrace better winter programs and event design. Digital innovation and leadership was at the forefront for 2020, and it will continue to be as we work in 26 a hybrid in-person and digital way into 2021 and beyond!
“It’s so great having an organization in our community with such a positive, supportive focus. I think [East End Arts] really strengthens the community and pulls people together. The spotlight series draws attention to people and groups we otherwise might not have been aware of. I certainly learned a lot and enjoyed seeing all the great things happening in the east end.” - East End Artist in our East End Spotlight Series
“While we know our staff complement might be tiny, the unique knowledge, expertise and perspective that we have as an east Toronto arts organization is mighty. We are excited about the ways we can continue to encourage change in our industry, and to help lead important conversations around rebuilding the social and cultural life of Toronto.” - East End Arts Team
“We adore East End Arts! They have championed our band throughout the pandemic. Their Artist Spotlight Series, the St. Matthew’s Clubhouse performance space, & the sharing of our social media has helped bring music to young audiences and fostered exciting new collaborations with local community artists.” -Sing Along Tim & The Pacifiers 28
Funders & Donors For the 2020 Fiscal Year
IN-KIND DONORS: 4Cats Arts Studio Barbie’s Basement Jewelry DeSerres Toronto Oma Chiropractic Percy Ellis Developments Queen Books Russell Custom Painting Simple Fresh Chinese Food
Adom Acheampong Carissa Ainslie Frederick Angus shannon blair Angele Blasitto Julia Breckenre Kim Brown Chelsea Cameron-Fikis Gerald Campbell David and Jolie Carey Janet Davis Jessie & Trevor Douglas
Mallary Duncan Sue Edworthy Melanie Fernandez Donna Garner Kasturi Ghoshal Alexis Gosselin Jane Gutteridge Patty Hargreaves Shana Hillman Claire Hopkinson Heather Kelly Janet Kish
Michelle Knight Tanya Koehnke Jennifer Lee Jeanne LeSage Anissa Lowe Sophie Malek Lauren McCauley William Milne Anne Milne Carole Milon Lauren Mitchell Susana Molinolo
Mike Nguyen Naomi Norquay Lisa Olafson Brenda Percy Debra Robins Anita Schretlen Gordon Scott Erin Stoyanoff Joanna Strong Peter Venetas Kristen Vettraino Anonymous
Financial Breakdown For the 2020 Fiscal Year
Financial Statements are available upon request.
East End Arts’ Staff & Board EAST END ARTS
EAST END ARTS BOARD
Shana Hillman Executive Director
David Carey, President Peter Venetas, Vice President
Chelsea Cameron-Fikis Communications Manager Adam Barrett Program Coordinator
Carissa Ainslie, Secretary Kasturi Ghoshal, Treasurer Melanie Fernandez Heather Kelly
With special thanks to Robin Sokoloski, our trusted Board President from 2017-2020, Rishit Shah, Communications & Marketing Intern, Urooj Syed, Communications & Marketing Assistant, Sami Abdo, Programming Intern, and Jennifer Miao, Bookkeeper for their important contributions in 2020. Also thank you to Project Work for their collaboration in helping us provide meaningful work to a disabled person in our community, who helped us keep our Clubhouse clean and tidy, amidst a pandemic.
PHOTO CREDITS: Cover: Girls Mural Camp 2020 - Finished Mural with Participants. Photo by Shana Hillman. Pg 2: Summerville Stories, Two Participants. Photo by Shana Hillman. Pg 5: East York Days: Behind the Music, Errol Nazareth. Photo by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis. Pg 6-7: ArtMEETS Winter Workshops, 2020. Photos by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis. Pg 8: BYOBeads - Adam Garnet Jones on Zoom. Photo by Adam Barrett. Pg 9: BYOBeads, Beading Creations by Adam Garnet Jones. Photos by Adam Garnet Jones. Pg 11: Mural by Elicser Elliot, Nick Sweetman, Sight and SPYONE at 975 Danforth Ave. Photo by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis. Pg 12: Maggie, Participant from Food 4 Thought. Photo by Adam Barrett. Pg 13: Ice cream watercolour from Food 4 Thought, by Participant Mairead Lavery. Pg 16: Summerville Stories, Participant. Photo by Adam Barrett. Pg 17: Summerville Stories, Participants at Photography Workshop. Photos by Shana Hillman and Adam Barrett. Pg 18: #DestinationDanforth, Mural Photos (mural artists top to bottom) - Elicser Elliott; Poser; Monica Wickeler. Photos by Shana Hillman and Chelsea Cameron-Fikis. Pg 19: #DestinationDanforth, Mural Photos (mural artists top to bottom) - Elicser Elliott; Elicser Elliott, Flips, Maysr, SPYONE, Sight & Nick Sweetman; Monica Wickeler. Photos by Shana Hillman and Chelsea Cameron-Fikis. Pg 21: The East York Love Squad from East Toronto. Photo by unicorn shannon. Pg 22-23: Girls Mural Camp, 2020, Photos of Participants at Camp. Photos by Shana Hillman. Pg 24-25: The Toronto Mycelial Network - Participant Mushrooms. Left to Right, Mushrooms by: Elise Ngo, Guild Festival Theatre, and Evelyn Tauben. Pg 26: East York Days: Behind the Music, East End Arts Staff Photo. Photo by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis. Pg 27: East York Days: Behind the Music, Set Photo. Photo by Adam Barrett. Pg 29: Community Art Project, Physically Distanced Portraits titled “Picture Windows”. Photo by Thomas Bollmann/Seed9. Pg 33: Girls Mural Camp, Spray Cans. Photo by Shana Hillman. Pg 34-35: Top to bottom, left to right - ArtMEETS Winter Workshop, Photo by Adam Barrett; #DestinationDanforth, Mural by Elicser Elliott, Photo by Shana Hillman; Girls Mural Camp Participants, Photo by Shana Hillman; Winter Stations 2020 Installation by Charlie Sutherland, Photo by Adam Barrett; #BlackLivesMatter Community Exhibit at Michael Garron Hospital, Photo by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis; ArtMEETS Winter Workshop, Photo by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis; #DestinationDanforth, Mural by Monica Wickeler, Photo by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis; Summerville Stories Participants, Photo by Adam Barrett. Pg 36-37: Top to bottom, left to right - Sing Along Tim and the Pacifiers Performance at our Clubhouse, Photo by Adam Barrett; ArtMEETS Winter Workshop Participant, Photo by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis; ArtMEETS Winter Workshop, Photo by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis; Girls Mural Camp Participant, Photo by Cass Rudolph; Toronto Mycelial Network Mushroom by Participant Maggie McMicheal; #BlackLivesMatter Community Exhibit at Michael Garron Hospital, Photo by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis; Summerville Stories Facilitator and Participants, Photo by Adam Barrett; Winter Stations “Taste” Pop-Up featuring lead artist Mikiki.
Annual Report design and creation by Chelsea Cameron-Fikis
ST. MATTHEW’S CLUBHOUSE 450 BROADVIEW AVENUE TORONTO, ON M4K 2N1