The Thread That Weaves Together Generations
Founded in 1988 UrbanArts is a different kind of arts organization, one that reflects the community’s diversity and vibrancy. UrbanArts provides services to children, youth and seniors primarily from Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities and is committed to utilizing the arts as not only an avenue for expression, but also for personal and community healing. We build inclusive, engaged communities by enriching people’s lives through the arts, culture and heritage, we have experienced great success with programs, services and resources delivered within the former City of York boundaries, with a focus on York South-Weston and other underserved areas in Toronto’s West end.
As the longest-serving arts organization in our catchment specifically focused on engaging all members of the community, UrbanArts celebrates diversity through a multiplicity of arts programs, events and special projects throughout the year, bringing the joy of the arts to the entire community. We provide services at our two Toronto west locations as well as through an extensive network of schools and community spaces.
Should you decide to gift us with some portion of the fruits of your life’s work, your gift can provide you with tax-saving options while helping shape the future of this community. All of our programs are free or low-cost. They are designed and evaluated with input from our participants and stakeholders to effectively meet the needs of the communities we serve. By providing experiences in a variety of art forms to residents who would not otherwise have access to these opportunities, UrbanArts helps the communities we serve and the entire city grow and maintain a cultural identity that will serve every citizen well into the future. Your support helps to create a better world for all who live here, not someday, but today.
We provide free arts programs, services and events to over 20,000 people annually in underserved areas. We do this at our two fully-equipped cultural facilities, at other community centres, at schools, virtually and in collaboration with other organizations carrying out cultural programming city-wide. We specifically serve racialized communities, including five Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) identified by the city as lacking in a variety of resources and supports necessary for healthy, thriving communities.
Each year, we contract approximately 200 artists who perform at community events, lead projects, provide mentorship and facilitate programs and workshops to over 2,600 children, youth and seniors. The artists receive much-deserved peer recognition, as they inspire and encourage others to continue their own efforts and strive for excellence. We encourage excellence through leadership training and open doors to new opportunities.
Yearly, we provide over 300 isolated seniors with programs and resources to explore the arts and share their life experiences facilitated by arts professionals, culminating in an annual exhibit or performance. We increase the effectiveness of our programs and services through collaborative efforts, networking, information sharing and mobilizing volunteers. Our dedicated board is reflective of the community and skilled in the art of good governance.