About the Network
The Neighbourhood Arts Network is the place where arts and community engagement meet in Toronto. We catalyze new discussions and relationships. We collect research and share information. We help artists and community organizations do what they do best: enrich Toronto and transform it into a more vibrant, beautiful, liveable city.
Guiding Principles: We believe in the intrinsic value of arts; collaboration and sharing; accessibility of the arts for all; diversity of artistic expression; artistic excellence in all disciplines, and the positive impact of arts on quality of life.
We are a Toronto-wide network of over 750 members, including artists, arts organizations, cultural workers and community agencies working throughout the City of Toronto, from North York to the downtown core, and from Etobicoke to Scarborough.
Activities of the Network include the interactive website with member profiles, events and projects, in-person networking and professional development events, promotional materials, advocacy, shared resources, research, and on-going partnerships with social service agencies, city departments, libraries and more. Members receive monthly e-newsletters with links to job opportunties, blog posts, events, and member profiles. The Network creates tools for advocacy and promotion including printed directories and videos profiling member's projects.
Created by the Toronto Arts Foundation in partnership with Art Starts, we receive funding through a variety of sources, including a three year committment from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The Network is administered by the Toronto Arts Foundation as a part of our Creative City: Block by Block initiative.
More more information on the benefits of membership please click here.
What is community-engaged art and why is it important?
The arts are a powerful tool in building and sustaining successful neighbourhoods. Community-engaged art-making is a unique and effective approach to community building that fosters relationships between artists and residents, while producing exciting, unique art, and nurturing mentoring opportunities. The result is a dynamic explosion of creativity that changes how art is made, how communities are built, and how we live together. Creative initiatives are taking place all over Toronto – in parks, apartment buildings, public spaces, libraries, community centres, storefronts and street locations. These locally-rooted projects bring residents and artists together. The result is more vibrant communities – mosaics, murals, theatre, dance, media arts, music recording, storytelling, poetry, painting and photography. The results astound the on-looker while bolstering confidence in participants and pride in place. For more information on community-engaged art, take a look at all the wonderful projects listed on the home page.
How did the Neighbourhood Arts Network come about?
The Network was created from the aspirations of the Toronto Arts Foundation to connect every Toronto neighbourhood with the transformative power of artistic activity, while building capacity for community-engaged artists and organizations. For several years the Foundation and its sister organization, the Toronto Arts Council, have been speaking directly with community-engaged artists and culture workers about their needs and concerns. In 2006 and 2008, Toronto Arts Foundation and the Toronto Arts Council hosted two symposiums to consult with artists about the challenges and rewards of working in communities. Following the symposium in 2008, a planning team was formed with the mandate to delve deeper into the needs of Toronto’s community-engaged artists, and to find the best way to respond to these concerns. The team conducted 25 in-depth interviews with potential Network members, interviewed leaders of other networks, and met with over 120 individuals at 5 design meetings. These artists sent a clear message: they needed help in raising awareness, accessing information and funds, developing their skills, and connecting with each other. In order to support this vital work, the Toronto Arts Foundation, as part of its Creative City: Block by Block program and in partnership with Art Starts, created the Neighbourhood Arts Network. For more information on the Toronto Arts Foundation, please visit our website at www.torontoartsfoundation.org.