SKETCH, based in Toronto, is a community arts enterprise engaging diverse young people, ages 16-29, who navigate poverty, or live homeless or on the margins. The ultimate goals are to transform lives and communities.
The work of SKETCH straddles several complex systems — health, education, employment, social services and community development.
The promise of the arts is that they can inspire and catalyze transformation on individual and community levels. With a commitment to inclusion and justice, SKETCH welcomes anyone into its studio space on Shaw Street in Toronto’s West End. For many young people, this is a step in a journey beginning with discovery — engaging with the arts and making new social connections — and can often lead to deeper forms of engagement. Individuals develop their skills, art practice and ideas, and develop a strong sense of community and self. They often go on to launch themselves into bold new directions in education, careers, leadership or activism.
At each step of this engagement, the commitment of SKETCH is to give young creatives access to art resources and support from experienced artists, enabling ongoing experimentation, risk-taking, leadership development and growth.
SKETCH provides training and resources in ceramic arts, culinary arts, industrial arts, media arts, movement, music, screen printing, textile arts, and visual arts. Additionally, SKETCH offers training in leadership and entrepreneurship, mentorship and opportunities to work on special projects.
The vision is to create a movement where young people are celebrated and engaged as culture makers, perception changers and collaborators in building creative communities.
“Young people need to connect their creativity and vision to making tangible change in the world. They need space and support to navigate the barriers they face such as: stigma attached to being young, and struggling with mental health and homelessness; and discrimination, oppression and exclusion felt on a variety of levels, individual and systemic. Our studio programs, workshops, mentorship and training enable young people to discover and develop their capacity and agency to contribute to culture and society.” – Phyllis Novak,
Founding Artistic Director
As part of its commitment to youth and inclusion, McConnell supported SKETCH with a grant of $538K over three years.