TORONTO: The City of Toronto’s Cultural Hotspot has returned for its eighth annual celebration of arts, culture and community The city has launched the program with 27 new community-based public art projects.
Cultural Hotspot connects and invests in Toronto’s diverse outside-thecore neighborhoods and, this year, shines a spotlight on East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York.
The Mayor was joined by Onika Powell, Artistic Director at VIBE Arts and Akshata Naik, a visual artist and arts educator at Montgomery’s Inn to launch the Heart of the Nest installation by VIBE Arts, a Cultural Hotspot art project.
The Hotspot program will run from now through December and will feature eight Signature Partnership Projects (funding is up to $20,000 per project) and 19 SPARK Projects (funding is up to $5,000 per project).
Some projects will run virtually, while others will run inperson, complying with provincial and Toronto Public Health regulations. All projects are free for the public to enjoy and experience and aim to promote and grow community arts, while providing new opportunities to engage equity-deserving residents in the arts.
The Cultural Hotspot projects celebrate local creativity and culture through free workshops, performances and events. Partners this year include organizations in neighbourhoods hardest hit by COVID-19, such as Weston Frontlines, Oakwood Village BIA, Scarborough Made, VIBE Arts, and Neighbourhood Love.
Cultural Hotspot projects focus on artistic skills development, youth mentorship and employment and creating of opportunities for local artists to express love in safe ways for community and neighbourhoods.
Highlights of this year’s Cultural Hotspot program include:
• Scarborough Made Resilience by Scarborough Made Documenting underrepresented narratives of humanity in Scarborough through photography and cinematography, this project explores themes around culture, community and resilience with the hope to develop a deeper understanding of the collective strength that we all share.
• Oakwood Village Roots & Routes Discovery Trail by Oakwood Village BIA An installation of sidewalk paintings and window installations by Muse Arts take us on a journey of playful discovery. Using the theme Roots and Routes, the environment and the contributions of many communities and people to the neighbourhood are acknowledged.
• Mobile in the Sky by Neilson Park Creative Centre An intergenerational public art project focuses on the creation and decoration of kites by Etobicoke residents through two virtual kite building workshops, leading to a kite flying public art event and public art kite installation, both at Neilson Park CC.
• Common Ground Dance Festival by Toes for Dance The inaugural Common Ground Dance Festival celebrates movement and community in North York’s Lee Lifeson Art Park. Events include accessible workshops that focus on creative, improvisational movement, sitespecific performances in response to the park’s sculptures and a cocreation experiment.
• Poetry inPrint: In the Streets by The inPrint Collective Partnering with local author Jacqueline Valencia, Torontobased emerging poets will conduct a workshop together to create five succinct short poems that reflect critically on the concept of safety from an anti-oppressive framework. Printmakers of the inPrint Collective will take to the streets at night to silkscreen the sidewalks of Etobicoke with these words using inks that allow the words to be seen at dusk.
• In Our Nature by Mural Routes Mural Routes, the Community Arts Guild, the E.W.o.C. Project (Equity for Women of Colour), and the Toronto Zoo have partnered to deliver a multidisciplinary public art project that celebrates Women of Colour in the Scarborough community.
More information about the eighth annual Cultural Hotspot program is available at http:// www.toronto.ca/culturalhotspot. Since Cultural Hotspot’s inception in 2014, hundreds of young people’s artistic capabilities have been nurtured and more than 100,000 people have attended more than 200 projects and events.