Jumblies at The Ground Floor 2014 - 2017

Jumblies is pleased to share images and stories from The Ground Floor, our creative residence from 2014 to 2017. The Ground Floor is at street level in the Toronto Community Housing block at Fort York Blvd. and Dan Leckie Way, in the midst of the new condo-development called CityPlace.

From The Ground Floor, we have been developing our Toronto, provincial and national projects, offering professional development workshops, housing our resource library, sharing our studio with other projects, delivering community arts programs, developing local partnerships, and exploring and expressing the neighbourhood’s layers of history and current voices.

The Ground Floor Opening, in January 2014, was celebrated with a photography exhibition; special guests including: poet Duke Redbird, Claire Hopkinson of the Toronto Arts Council, City Councillor Adam Vaughan, MPP Rosario Marchese, and Loree Lawrence of the Ontario Arts Council; performances by Marie Gaudet and the Dundas First Nations School Singers; Cathy Nosaty’s local seniors’ choir; and a parade of miniature boats.

Thanks to the Toronto Arts Council’s ‘Space for Art’ program and then-Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan for making The Ground Floor and other downtown spaces available and affordable for artists, and to the Toronto Arts Council for facilitating our residency here. Thanks also to Toronto Community Housing and Del Management Services (DMS), and the new property managers at Greenwin, for allowing us to use the beautiful community room at 150 Dan Leckie for many of our workshops and events.

Community-engaged Workshops

Jumblies makes art in everyday and extraordinary places with, for and about the people and stories found there. Since moving into The Ground Floor, we have engaged diverse community members in workshops and projects exploring the buried landscapes and Indigenous histories held in this location and the city at large. Many of the resulting new works will be presented in our two-month multi-site Touching Ground Festival in May and June 2017.

Over three years at The Ground Floor, Jumblies has brought together 200 artists and over 3000 diverse community participants in:

  • 450+ community activities, and
  • 30+ performances and presentations.

Through the Jumblies Studio we have provided:

  • 60+ professional development workshops at The Ground Floor for the artistic community, and
  • 20 full-time learning positions to emerging community artists.

Seasonal Celebrations

Each season included celebrations and work-in-progress presentations of our explorations into the neighbourhood’s stories and history, with The Ground Floor choir and dance troupe, and displays of the art created with many artists and community members.

Special Events

We staged work-in-progress presentations of three new musical compositions, composed by Martin van de Ven, Norbert Palej and Kyle Brenders, inspired by community-generated images, text and stories, and performed by professional and community musicians and singers.

Train of Thought was an evolving journey of art-making and (re)conciliation, travelling from west to east coast, with 25 stops, 75 travellers, 95 partners and hundreds of participants. The Ground Floor Train of Thought event included creative workshops, a choral work composed by Martin van de Ven, and performances by Train of Thought travellers.

As a member of the Platform A partnership with Art Starts, SKETCH/CUE and VIBE Arts, Jumblies hosted two A Show events, presenting the work of 100+ Toronto Arts Council micro-grant recipients.

Fiona Raye Clarke’s Intergeneracial oral history theatre project was hosted and mentored by Jumblies at The Ground Floor. It involved Black youth interviewing Black elders on topics of Blackness and post-racialism in Canada, and the resulting performance of From Their Lips.

Directed by Associate Artistic Director, Ange Loft, After the Fire was an interview-based immersive performance based on interviews collected during the height of the Idle No More movement, rehearsed and presented at The Ground Floor.

On the one-year anniversary of Train of Thought, Terrain of Thought explored the artistic, social, and political questions that emerged from that multifaceted community arts tour. The event launched two special editions of alt.theatre magazine dedicated to Train of Thought, and opened a CONTACT Photography Festival exhibition, curated by Liam Coo, of Instagram photos taken and shared by artists while travelling on the tour.

Professional Development

Jumblies provides learning and mentorship through a thread of the company we call the Jumblies Studio. Activities include an intensive introductory 6-day course (Artfare Essentials), paid internships of varied lengths, project support and consultancy, seminars, creative explorations, print and digital resources, partnerships and special projects.

Our annual Artfare Essentials 6-day workshop on the principles and practices of art that engages with and creates community is an experiential journey of learning and art-making.

Jumblies was proud to host the On The Ground Symposium in and around The Ground Floor: an event produced by MABELLEarts and the Toronto Arts Council, featuring organizations and artists who are making art in parks and public spaces across Toronto.

Workshops in Canoe Landing Park and Under the Gardiner Expressway

Ontario College of Art and Design’s Designing Across Differences class created Talking Treaties-inspired portable storytelling spaces.

Jumblies collaborated with Karyn Recollet's University of Toronto graduate class in Indigenous Aesthetics on a project, Taddle Tales, investigating the buried Taddle Creek, under what is now Philosopher's Walk.

Jumblies has been fortunate to receive Performing Arts Internship grants from the Metcalf Foundation. These grants have made it possible to host 12 emerging arts leaders, four at the Ground Floor. Upon completion of their internships, each Intern presents “My Year With Jumblies”. Our Ground Floor Metcalf Interns have been Sonja Rainey (2014), Ange Loft (2015), Nikki Shaffeeullah (2016), and Julia Hune-Brown (2017).

The Oral History and Art Making Group met monthly at The Ground Floor to discuss and share interview based community arts projects.

Composing Community workshops introduced composers and music creators to community-engaged arts and vice versa.

Touching Ground Festival

All of this work is coming together in the Spring 2017 Touching Ground Festival, celebrating three years residency at The Ground Floor, chronicling the growth of the new neighbourhood, and exploring Toronto’s indigenous and buried histories. The Festival will conclude with the presentation of Talking Treaties at our neighbour Historic Fort York’s annual Indigenous Arts Festival from June 23 to 25, 2017.

Jumblies hopes to continue our tenancy at The Ground Floor, further establishing it as a hub for community-engaged arts activities, learning, productions and presentations, including diverse local residents and artists and partners from across the city and father afield.

About Us

Jumblies is a Toronto-based organization with a national and international reach that engages in collaborations between professional artists and diverse people and communities, and equips, mentors and supports others to do so. Jumblies expands where art happens, who gets to be part of it, what form it takes and which stories it tells. This imperative has led us outside of specialized art places, and to place participation and radical inclusion at the core of our projects. We say Everyone is welcome! and grapple with the implications – social and aesthetic – of meaning it.

We adapt, combine and play with forms of arts production placed in new situations, with equal attention to all stages (before, during, after). Our performances and presentations, albeit highly-produced, are steps in a process, the ultimate product of which is the transformational experience, and its memory and trace – the transient micro-utopia and its lasting ripples.

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