Our Impact Why We Exist
VIBE Arts is an award-winning charitable organization that is committed to engaging young people living in neighbourhood improvement areas with high-quality, accessible arts education programs that are meaningful, relevant and collaboratively developed with community and education partners. VIBE Arts positions arts programs in schools and neighbourhood venues as a means of building community, and empowering children and youth to reach their full potential as artists and social contributors.
Through the arts, youth can develop self-confidence, and leadership qualities in their relationships with others. We position arts programs in schools and neighbourhood venues as a means to build community, and empower marginalized children and youth as decision makers who can realize their full potential as social contributors. Thus, VIBE Arts fully recognizes the importance and involvement of young people as program supporters and designers. All programs provided are always free for children and youth participants, and delivered at highly subsidized rates to school partners, and free to community partners.
Our Story What We Do
History of Organization
In October 2015 we changed our name from Arts for Children and Youth (AFCY) to VIBE Arts. Our Outreach programs, begun in 2002, and are offered at no cost to the young people. The outreach programs are structured as after-school programs or school-based workshops.
Established in 1995, VIBE Arts originally functioned as an arts scholarship provider to ensure that any child, regardless of means, could experience the benefits of arts experiences through a scholarship that allowed them to attend arts programs.
Our strategic move to shift away from awarding scholarships and concentrate on outreach programming stems from our belief that we would reach more children and provide more accessible program opportunities. VIBE Arts runs multidisciplinary programs that include: visual arts, video, photography, digital arts, spoken word, textile art, dance, drama, music and multi-arts.
Our work has been focused in ten priority neighbourhoods and surrounding areas in Toronto, including Jamestown, Jane-Finch, Kingston-Galloway, Lawrence Heights, Malvern, Regent Park, Toronto Central, Victoria Village, Warden Woods, Weston-Mt. Dennis and outside of these neighbourhoods in centres that serve children and youth with specialized needs. In these communities, VIBE Arts has worked steadily to position the artistic contributions of marginalized young people as an effective and meaningful way of increasing their chances of educational and personal success, increasing well being, and building a sense of community and social awareness.
Accolades and Accomplishments
• 2015-2016 Toronto Foundation Vital Ideas Award Recipient
• 2015 ArtsBridges National Award for Innovation in Socially-Engaged Community Art
• 2014, 2011, 2010, 2009, VIBE received Vital Youth Awards from the Toronto Community Foundation for our innovative Community Sharing Programs
• 2013, VIBE was shortlisted for the Toronto Arts Foundation’s TD Arts Diversity Award
• 2012, VIBE received a three-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation for our Youth Mentorship Program
• 2012, 2011, VIBE was chosen as the beneficiary of the proceeds from Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
• 2011, Executive and Artistic Director, Julie Frost, received the Community Arts Educator of the Year Award (Ontario Art Education Association)
• 2011, VIBE was named the beneficiary of The Rotary & Rotaract Clubs of Toronto’s Centennial Project
• 2010, VIBE received a Vital Ideas Award from the Toronto Community Foundation for our Arts Informed Evaluation System
• 2009, Founder and past Executive Director, Lola Rasminsky, received the Local Heroes Award from the Canadian Urban Institute
• 2009, Julie Frost received the Vital People Award from the Toronto Community Foundation
• 2008, Lola Rasminsky was named a Member of the Order of Canada for her work in arts education
Our Programs How We Do It
Currently, VIBE Arts engages more than 8,000 children and youth per year in outreach arts programs that are delivered in more than 194 schools and community sites in ten of Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods. VIBE Arts programs operate from a pedagogical framework that engages participants in both formal and informal arts education. Through accessible community and school based arts engagement, children and youth can self-express, develop skills, learn new ways of seeing and doing, and establish new connections with society and individually. The Toronto's Vital Signs® Report 2015 -Arts and Culture, supports this point saying that the, “exposure to arts education for young people can build capacity for imaginative and critical thinking along with open-mindedness, which are all important skills for living productive lives as adults.” VIBE Arts' programs rest on the choices made by marginalized children, youth, and their communities. We believe that the choices made within our programming framework and under the guidance of artist/instructors specialized in high quality arts, have the capacity to position marginalized youth as leaders.
VIBE Arts connects artist educators of a wide range of artistic disciplines (from film, beat-boxing, murals to fashion, drumming and dance) with local communities in our Outreach Programs, that feature school and community-based programs (in shelters, hospitals, community centres, libraries, public housing, parks and storefronts) as well as festivals and events that engage the general public. We work with youth through our Mentorship Programs linked and scaffold educational initiatives that include art education training programs, arts festivals and youth-led initiatives. VIBE Arts' works directly to address identified points made by the Toronto's Vital Signs® Report 2015 with regards to the Gap Between Rich and Poor by providing programs to a wide range of community-based venues with, “programs targeting youth at risk.” It is empowering for youth to see their choices and creativity validated and realized in a public mural or a dance routine that they have created within their own neighbourhood. It is here that their cultural heritage, and their beliefs and ideas can be given form, and where youth can gain the vocabulary, self-confidence and purpose to advocate for their community and for themselves. The Toronto's Vital Signs® Report 2015 in Arts and Culture demonstrates this importance by stating that, "89% of Torontonians see at least one benefit that the arts provide to themselves. 66%, for example, report that the arts expose them to new ideas, and 46% say they make them feel proud of their city.”
VIBE Arts supports the City of Toronto’s implementation of its Poverty Reduction Strategy mentioned in Toronto's Vital Signs® Report 2015 -The Gap Between Rich and Poor: Through creating opportunities of employment, volunteering, and training in conjunction high level arts education programming linking participant. VIBE Arts employs artists from the communities and have them teach and assist within to create strong leadership and a sense of belonging among its' participants. The employment of artists by VIBE Arts directly addresses Toronto's Vital Signs® Report 2015- Arts and Culture as well in that, “68% of Torontonians say that local artists add value to our society and therefore should be appropriately compensated, and 57% say that the arts should be a priority for local government.” VIBE Arts employs artists from the communities and have them teach and assist within to create strong leadership and a sense of belonging among its' participants.
VIBE Arts Fest
Formally named Big Bam Boom, VIBE Arts fest is planned and produced by a volunteer youth committee; a collective of volunteering youth working under the mentorship of VIBE Arts staff members. This diverse committee involves youth who have participated, assisted, or volunteered with VIBE programming and special outreach events... Read more about VIBE Arts Fest- Youth-Led Arts Festival
TTC Murals Welcome 41 & This Is Why We Play
Over the years VIBE Arts special iniatives Youth X Press with murals on buses which, has spurred into another innovative community-focused mural making program that engages youth in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods to what programs and events happening in their Toronto Home. Welcome 41 a part of Pan AM games in the summer of 2015 was the first time VIBE Arts was able to extend its' reach to the larger Toronto Area by including students from other communiities that were under-resourced to allow for their “voice” to heard through original murals installed on TTC subway platforms. The ad panels (normally discarded after use) are repurposed as surfaces for art. In the fall of 2015 to 2016 the program transformed further by working with NBA Canada for the This Is Why We Play project. The murals welcomed NBA fans and NBA All-Stars to Toronto for the very first time in all of Canada. The murals tell the story of how the game of basketball impacts the lives of many youth groups, and also the shared experiences between artists and basketball players. NBA Canada created this beautiful video sharing George Harvey Collegiate Institute’s student’s journey in creating murals inspired by words connected to the sport of basketball; along with 350 children and youth from 30 schools and community organizations who worked under the guidance of 16 professional artists across the GTA who followed the same journey in creating 60 distinct murals. This program positions youth art-making as a means of building community capacity, using the transit system as a medium. The resulting murals are posted in subway stations in Toronto neighbourhoods throughout the year.
Beat of your own drum involves youth in school or community groups in a two year commitment to learn to make a traditional hand-made drum under the guidance of an expert craftsperson. The painstaking process of making a drum builds deep connection to the music and a rewarding sense of pride in the finished product. African drumming and Aboroginal drumming are programs of focus providing a deeper understanding of history, culture, perspectives, and experiences.... Read more about Beat of Your Own Drum
The Beat of Your Own Drum Program focuses on Toronto's Vital Signs® Report 2015 vital sign Learning by addressing all of these point listed below.
All students in Canada would benefit from a deeper understanding of the history of the many nations that have influenced and comprise this country and a better understanding of aboriginal cultures, perspectives, and experiences.
Ninety-six per cent of secondary schools and 92% of elementary schools in Ontario have at least some aboriginal students enrolled, yet the majority do not offer aboriginal education opportunities.
81% of elementary schools and 53% of secondary schools do not offer any Aboriginal education opportunities, despite the fact that most have Aboriginal students.691
This program asked the question, “Why should a Cultural Hotspot be immobile?” Through an innovative Partnership with Pattison Outdoor Advertising VIBE Arts put the art of local children and youth on the sides of buses to make every bus stop a “Cultural Hotspot” at some point in the day! Youth Xpress is a ground-braking, community-focused... VIBE Arts runs a after-school workshops at York Woods and Fairview Libraries. The programs are open to children and youth ages 9-13. All workshops are hands-on and will introduce participants to chalk art techniques, stencil-making, public art-making and design skills, as well as, introduce artful mark-making as acts of positive social activism and civic engagement. Working with a professional artist / arts educator, participants will learn how to make their own environmentally friendly coloured side-walk chalk, create original stencils, practice drawing and design techniques through the creation of smaller, individual chalk artworks and create large-scale collaborative, site-specific chalk murals on pavement and walls, expressing the theme “What’s Your Message of Community?”. Read more about Cultural Hotspots Etobicoke
Putting a new urban hiphop spin on the age-old game of hopscotch was the central idea behind AFCY’s idea for animating the PanAm Path, a new unified walking and cycling trail that connects Toronto’s ravines and waterfront trails. Working with the Friends of the PanAm Path, and with funding from the Toronto Community Foundation and... Read more about HipHop HopScotch
VIBE Arts in the Community
The newly developed VIBE Arts Mentorship Division aims to continue to build scaffolded mentorship opportunities for youth and emerging artists by building on VIBE’s existing youth division, creating a more formalized approach to mentorship and skill training that offers multiple entry points for young people from across Toronto, with various degrees of experience in the arts... Read more about Mentorship Division Introduction
Resources for educators
Platform A is a collaboration between four of Toronto’s leading organizations in community-engaged arts: Art Starts, Jumblies Theatre, SKETCH, and VIBE Arts. These organizations have all emerged from grassroots initiatives and have grown to become key community builders in Toronto’s arts sector, engaging thousands of children, young people and adults annually through their diverse, innovative and accessible programming. The... Read more about
What You Can Do
Interested in partnering with us for a program in your school or community?
VIBE Arts builds sustainable localized partnerships and leverages the artistic agency of young people to collaboratively develop and implement meaningful, innovative and impactful hands-on arts education programs for children and youth who identify with the margins.
How can you get involved with VIBE Arts.
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Sponsorship or Partnership Interested in partnering with us for a program in your school or community?
Volunteering with VIBE Arts provides exciting, unique, and rewarding opportunities to lend your artistic skills to underserved children and youth in Toronto, to network with other artists and like-minded people, to serve the community – to make a difference. If you are interested in volunteering, please click here.