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Community Arts Projects

Community Arts Projects


We facilitate and support the development, creation and exhibition of community arts projects that encourage dialogue between and across communities. By using the arts, we hope that both the process and final product enable the artists, participants, audience and the boarder community to engage in conversations that support action and change.


"A Seat at the Table"
Opening Doors - Toronto Public Health

Materials: glitter on wood

As lead artists, Tumaini Lyaruu and Lydia Hernandez collaborated with artists Mimi Duong, Anthony Boni, Erav Doe to make two chairs made of discarded materials as symbols for the need to change the negative labels/myths about young people, and the tokenizing of our experiences “at the table” when addressing HIV and harm reduction programming. The glitter chair represents a metaphor we actively used within the Empower Project to talk about meaningful youth engagement and intersectionality: “like flecks of glitter in a kaleidoscope, our identities and lives are complex and brilliant, young people know best how to structure programs and spaces to meet our needs. We believe that a starting point for this conversation is to directly involve and support young people accessing and leading these programs.” The blank chair holds audiences' thoughts on: “What does youth having a seat at the table mean to you?” Together the two chairs are a conversation piece to how services providers and young people can work together at the table.

"A Seat At The Table" is based off of a collaboratively written book chapter with youth from the Empower Project, Sarah Switzer at York University, and Tumaini Lyaruu at Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention (GAAP) at University of Toronto titled: “What’s Glitter Got To Do With It?” From Critical Perspectives on Harm Reduction: Conflict, Institutionalization, Co-optation, Depoliticization, and Direct Action.


"STI Storytelling"
CUE- Margin of Eras
Materials: news paper cuttings on paper

The STI storytelling series in an ongoing collaboration with black artists who have had or lived with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) to design and crochet palm-sized genitalia with clinical symptoms of STIs. This multidisciplinary art projects purpose is to tell a first person narrative about living with an STI and navigating STI stigma. It is also to hold space for black people to share and learn from each others complex experiences and decision making when living with an STI, to create art work that challenges STI stigma and shame, and to collectively create tactile art work that shares information about sexual health we wish we had with the audience.

blmto freedom school.jpg

Children’s Power Shields
BLMTO Freedom School
Materials: acrylic paint, paper mache, on polystyrene

These shields were commissioned for BLMTO Freedom School as part of their 3 week long summer program for children aged 4-12. Black artists are paid to facilitate and create resources, props and curriculum that support the response to a lack of humanizing, self-affirming, queer positive educational opportunities for Black children in the GTA. The shields were decorated by the children enrolled in freedom school and used as part of the freedom school showcase that explored Black communities resistance in Africville, the resistance of Jamaican migrants to the live in caregiver program in the 1970s, and BLMTOTentCity in 2016.