North York Arts is thrilled to be working with Timea Wharton-Suri this year! Timea is an arts and entertainment professional who grew up right here in North York. Having studied and worked all over the city and in various disciplines, she has gained a thorough perspective on art and community. We asked her about her passion for the arts, her current projects, and her take on the future of arts and culture in North York.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your passion for the arts?
For 20 years, I have been either performing, teaching, administrating, consulting, programming or producing the arts. Many of these roles have been undertaken simultaneously – the artist’s life! I was born and raised in North York and have since worked all over the city, mostly within dance, music and literary forms. I am a quiet, shy person and the arts have always allowed me to express myself. I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to weave the arts into every aspect of my life.
What projects are you working on that you are excited about?
I have a few irons in the fire, including curating the Uptown Moves dance series and a new discussion series for TO Live. Right now I’m deep into production of a new children’s literary event for North York Arts at the North York Central Library. For this free September 28th Culture Days event, the incredible Toronto Comic Arts Festival is programming renowned kid-focused comic artists and authors to present to and engage with kids and their parents. There will be feature artist presentations and workshops to get the kids creating their own stories.
In your opinion, how are art and community correlated?
For me, the arts and healthy communities go hand-in-hand. Engaging with the arts provides community members with powerful tools to articulate their thoughts, emotions and concerns. The arts bring people together to both preserve past and create new experiences for growth. The arts are a means to community dialogue, to better mental and physical health, to greater mobilization, and to greater understanding.
How would you describe North York’s art and culture community and how do you hope to see it evolve in the future?
Given the size and diversity of North York, I view local arts as having multiple communities of participants. And I mean that in a good way. We have the knowledge of so many cultures to be shared, and the artistic creation and sharing is necessarily done in numerous ways and spaces. These distinct arts communities can come together in parks, community centres and theatres to share their work. In future, I am hoping to see more diversity in the audiences of these distinct public expressions of culture. Why waste the beauty of having so many cultures in North York by only engaging with the art of your own?
For more information on Timea, you can visit her website at https://timeawharton.ca/. For more information about the Culture Days event with Toronto Comic Arts Festival and North York Arts visit northyorkarts.org/programs.