North York Arts is pleased to be participating in Emergence Symposium! This large-scale event will convene over 150 community engaged arts practitioners, policy makers and community members to discuss the theme of Arts and Equity.

Emergence Symposium was created by Neighbourhood Arts Network (NAN), an initiative of Toronto Arts Foundation dedicated to celebrating and supporting community engaged artists and arts organizations around Toronto. We had the chance to chat with Angie Aranda and Inés Aguileta, both core leaders at Neighbourhood Arts Network who are busy organizing Emergence Symposium 2018.

Please introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about Neighbourhood Arts Network.

A: My name is Angie Aranda and I am the manager at NAN, which was formed in 2010. Prior to that, Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council hosted forums around community art to better serve, help, and connect artists. NAN was created to develop additional opportunities for the arts community to connect. It has since established workshops and awards to support artists with limited access to resources.

I: My name is Inés Aguileta and I am the senior program coordinator. It’s been really interesting to observe NAN’s growth – from its initial mission to support community-engaged artists, to what it is today: a citywide network that fosters and encourages the exchange of ideas and expertise amongst artists working in all disciplines in Toronto’s communities.

Tell us about Emergence Symposium. Why did NAN start this initiative?

A: The first Emergence Symposium was created in 2011 and focused on celebrating community-engaged arts. Discussions centered around what inclusivity, positive social change, and equity look like in creative practice and organizations. Emergence evolved by looking at how our intersections as people affect the creation of art and community building.

I: With the last two symposiums, we shifted our focus to address pressing issues facing our communities, which is beautiful and interesting because NAN, at its core, is responsive to the needs of our artists and community.

What can participants expect from the Emergence Symposium this year?

A: An open call for submissions highlighted the urgency for self-care activations. Emergence 2018 will focus on self-care through different lenses and mediums, organizational equity and creative entrepreneurship, intersections of immigration and who we are as people in the context of colonization.

Why was it important for NAN to partner with Toronto’s 6 Local Arts Service Organizations (LASOs) for the Emergence Symposium?

I: We really wanted to bring the arts outside of the downtown core and for that to happen, we turned to the LASO’s. The LASOs are able to present strategic programming that would best help and serve their community, while being part of a bigger platform.

A: We wanted to reach out to the LASOs who helped propel NAN forward as an organization. They are leaders in their community and we wanted to work with them to create urgency for discussions on equity.

What does Arts and Equity mean to you?

A: Equity transpires through art making, and transforms individuals. My mother is a member of North York Art’s Legacy Collective (a seniors arts access group) and I see the transformative power that art has to help her express her personal story and deal with her struggles.

I: I am still trying to figure out what equity means to me – it is an everyday learning process. I have learned to understand and identify my own privileges and work towards giving a voice and access to those who may not have it all times.

For this year’s symposium, NYA is hosting Art as Medicine (part of our Beyond Access Beyond the Creative series). The workshop will explore the relationship between wellness and art from an Indigenous perspective. Join us at North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge St on Thursday November 22, 2018 from 12:30 to 4:30 PM.

For more information about Emergence Symposium visit:

To Sign up for Arts as Medicine visit: