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Art Engagement Project

Changing The Narrative Through The Arts

The Art Engagement Project embarked on its creative flow for school-aged children in Simcoe County through artistic expression, teaching students how to become allies in their schools to combat anti-Black racism and discrimination. We created the highly successful Art Engagement Project afterward, becoming the 2021 recipients of the TD Bank of Canada Ready Commitment program. We have been honoured to have had support from TD Bank over the past 3 years. This program would not have been possible without their community grant.

We are thrilled to share that the Art Engagement Project will continue to thrive in our local schools, thanks to the ongoing support from the United Way Simcoe Muskoka Collaborative Communities grant. This exciting journey will extend all the way to 2027, promising a wealth of artistic experiences and opportunities for our community. We proudly acknowledge our collaborative partners: the Wasaga Society of the Arts, MacLaren Art Centre, Simcoe County District School Board, and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School Board, who have been instrumental in its success.

Over the past 3 years, our Making Change presenters and artists have worked with a diverse range of student participants, from grades K through 12, across Simcoe County District School Board and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board. This inclusive approach has allowed over 100 classes to explore and express their thoughts on diversity & inclusion through a variety of art forms, including visual, dramatic, music, and dance.

The Art Engagement Project 2024

Art Engagement Project:

Changing the narrative through the arts by engaging Black artist mentors, sparking conversations and discussions, students will:

Explore the impact that anti-Black racism has on the world around us;
Reflect on how we can overcome racism and discrimination by making change;
Create their expressions of making positive change through art, dance, music, theatre; and, 
Share their creations in the community as opportunities are available (social media, displays etc.)

These creations will engage your students in critical thinking about diversity, inclusion with an emphasis on Black people, Black cultures and issues around anti-Black racism. Their reflections will generate creative expressions in various forms visual, dance, music, theatre as part of the movement to drive positive change and inclusion in our community.

Implementation Overview:

  • Pre-Teacher Meeting
    There will be a pre-meeting between the teacher, artist and presenter to review the project, expectations, scheduling and planned outcomes.
  • Educational Presentation on Anti-Racism (one visit)
    A professional Making Change presenter (with a Black-lived experience) will join in-person to your class for an interactive, age-appropriate 45-minute educational presentation with a 15-minute Q&A. The presentation will address anti-racism issues in a safe space and in a way that is engaging and thought-provoking for all ages. It will have the classroom looking at ways of becoming allies and what students and staff can do individually and collectively to become supportive allies.
  • Class mentorship (one visit)
    A Making Change professional Black artist mentor will visit the class in person and work with the students on their art projects. The available art streams are visual arts, drama, music, photography, slam poetry, and dance classes. The mentorship will include a one-hour visit for High School students or a 1 ½ hour visit for elementary students. Each class will also have a half-hour, either pre or post-virtual session, to prepare for the in-person visit or as a follow-up to see how the final product has come together.
  • Art Display Opportunities
    Classes can take the Art Engagement Project experience and share it with other peers, with the school as a whole and with the community at large. A showcase can be done as a live performance, art exhibit, or on social media and online channels. Making Change and the artist mentors can support these types of events.

MacLaren Art Centre Partnership:  We have partnered with the MacLaren Art Centre for the past three years on the Art Engagement Project. During their Art Engagement journey, our students have been shown Virtual Art Tours created at the MacLaren of celebrated Black artists. Watch Erika DeFritas and Farihah Aliyah’s tours here and discover the interesting perspectives and challenges they have had as racialized artists and how anti-Black racism issues have shaped their art. A new virtual art tour will be available for 2025!

Available art streams to choose from:

Meet Our Artist Mentors:

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