The purpose of this paper is to introduce UrbanArts, a non-profit art council that focus on enhancing community involvement through arts, what programs and activities it offers to the community across Toronto, and how to get involved in the community art project as an audience.

"Engaging YOUTH in community development through ARTS!"
UrbanArts is a non-profit Community Arts Council focused on enhancing neighbourhoods by engaging youth in community development through the arts. UrbanArts initiates arts activities that bring people together in central-west Toronto and city wide. One of six local arts organizations across Toronto, UrbanArts is an incubator for local arts, with a range of programs led by professional artists in visual art, theatre, dance and music. (Urbanarts, 2016)
Mandate: to promote, engage and facilitate cultural and community development opportunities between artists, arts organizations, community members and community organizations (Urbanarts, 2016).
Mission: Enhancing neighbourhoods by engaging youth in community development through the arts (Urbanarts, 2016).

UrbanArts led by Marlene McKinstosh, Executive Director, has a passion for arts and youth. "Marlene has worked tirelessly to ensure young people have access to quality programs and services and that their voices are included in every sphere" (Urbanarts, 2016). Marlene shares the same goal with Lensa Denga, Operations Manager of UrbanArts, Shah Mohamed, Program Manager, and other coordinators and facilitators who make this organization successful.

UrbanArts services the community, City of Toronto, including Weston, Keelesdale, Rockcliffe , etc.
According to Canada Council for the Arts, an investor for artistic excellent for Canadians, Ontario has been granted $47.9 M of funding - total of 33% of funding grants across Canada in 2015 - 16. Music, theatre, arts, and writing are the main art disciplines with total number of 724 artists being supported.
According to Diversity in Canada's Arts and Labour Force, "between 1991 and 2001, the number of artists grew by 29%, close to three times the rate of growth of the overall labour force (10%)". There is also a growing amount of visible minorities, Aboriginals, and immigrants who have been joining the labour force.


Number or Artists: 58,100 (twice as many as any other province and 43% of Canada’s artists)
Artists as percentage of overall labour force: 0.87% (i.e., 1 in every 115 workers)
48% growth 1989 to 2013 (vs. 34% for overall labour force)
Average income of artists: $34,900 (30% less than overall labour force)
Largest arts occupation: musicians and singers (13,400, or 23% of total)

(Hill, 2014)


UrbanArts ongoing and upcoming programs includes: Hype, Guerilla Film Academy, Culinary Arts, Beats.Mind.Movement, Spoken Word, and Yoga. These programs are led by professional artists in theatre, arts, music, and dance.


This dance program is built for that young budding dancer (AGES 15 - 24) looking to push and train hard this year! This program will give each dancer a taste of the wide variety of street dance styles including Hip Hop, Dancehall, Traditional African, AfroFusion, and Krump.

HYPE participants will:

  • Learn about posture and position in dance: as well as spatial awareness and performance
  • Learn basic steps & movements in various styles including hiphop, dancehall, krump, traditional african and afrofusion
  • Put techniques into practice with fun choreography
  • Develop an understanding of the background of the dance styles
  • Try out freestyling as well as learning routines
  • Develop confidence in your movement and add expression to your dancing
  • Deepen technical understanding: with an intensive lesson on performance and technicality
  • Have the chance to perform your dance routine: as a solo, duet, trio, group
Location: Dance Studio (5 Bartonville Ave. East)
Class Type: Dance
Class Size: 15
Price: Free


Guerilla Film Academy (GFA) is a youth programming initiative dedicated to young people between the ages of 16-24 interested in growing or developing a skillset in the world of filmmaking, with a focus on developing the essential skills needed to take a vision and put it on the screen.
New dates and times will be released in early 2017.

Activities include:

  • Camera Operations
  • Digital Editing
  • Screenwriting Fundamentals
Duration: 3 hours
Location:Protech Media Centre (5 Bartonville Ave. East, Toronto, ON M6M 2B1)
Class Type:Film/ Digital Arts
Class Size:12
Price: Free


The Culinary Arts program offers weekly sessions facilitated by a professional chef. Youth prepare healthy meals that are then used as snacks in the ‘Snack N Chat’ program that follows. Youth learn food preparation skills, budgeting and healthy eating while helping the chef to prepare a meal that everyone enjoys.
Every Friday from 4PM-6PM
Duration: 120 mins
Location: 5 Bartonville Ave. East, Toronto, ON
Class Size: 12
Price: Free


BEATS. MIND. MOVEMENT (BMM) is a youth programming initiative dedicated to young people between the ages of 16 – 24 interested in growing and developing a skill set in the world of recording arts with a focus on Audio engineering and Production.
Submission Deadline: November 3rd, Start Date: November 9th, 2016, Time: 4pm – 9pm, Age of Eligibility: 16 – 24 years old

BMM about:

  • a FREE 6-month intensive music program
  • For youth 16-24, who have some experience making music and are eager to take it to the next level.
  • because of limited space, you must submit an application
  • Applicants will learn skills in Audio Engineering and Production.
  • learn about the business of music and artist promotion.
  • Participants collaborate to write, produce, and promote original material.
  • Hear from industry guest speakers and ask questions
Duration: 6 months
Location: UrbanArts - 5 Bartonville Ave. East, Toronto, ON
Class Size: 15 Participants
Class Type: Intermediate
Price: Free
Other programs include: Spoken Word and Yoga
Get involved with UrbanArts and help youth to engage with the community.


Donate Now: Make one-time donation to UrbanArts charity using credit card, PayPal account, or a CanadaHelps Gift Card.
Donate Monthly: Schedule monthly donations using credit card or PayPal account.
Donate Securities: A donation of securities or mutual fund shares is the most efficient way to give charitably since the capital gains tax does not apply. Your security or mutual fund donation means a larger donation for the charities you support.
Fundraise: Bringing friends, family or co-workers together to support this charity multiplies your donation.



Making a difference across the country. (2016, October 21). Retrieved November 24, 2016, from http://statsandstories.canadacouncil.ca/index-eng.asp

Retrieved November 24, 2016, from http://www.hillstrategies.com/content/artists-and-cultural-workers-canada’s-provinces-and-territories#toc-43

UrbanArts Community Arts Council – Engaging youth through the arts. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2016, from http://urbanartstoronto.org/

URBANARTS COMMUNITY ARTS COUNCIL. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2016, from https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/urbanarts-community-arts-council/

UrbanArtsTO | Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2016, from https://www.facebook.com/urbanartstoronto/

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