Grow North Industry Connections

Grow North Industry Connections

Grow North Industry Connections

Are you a performing artist learning to navigate the arts sector? Do you want to connect with peers and learn how to talk about your work? Are you seeking access to professional development opportunities to expand your artistic practice?

North York Arts’ Industry Connections event, is a chance to participate in an in-person meet-and-greet with performing artists, arts organizations, and funders to gain access to information about opportunities to take your performing arts career to the next level. This event is in partnership with TOES FOR DANCE, as a part of Common Ground Dance Festival. and Gibson House Museum.

We’re excited to offer:

-FREE professional headshots (limited offer)
-Informal & Facilitated Networking
-Panel discussion from performing arts industry professionals

Stay tuned for the next Industry Conections event!

Through programming, community engagement and development, we prioritize investing in North York based artists.

Starting in 2022, North York Arts has been embarking on an exciting path to provide opportunities for artists living in North York through our Grow North program. With three exciting streams, Grow North aims to support artists by way of creative residencies, a microgrants program, co-working sessions, and most recently, the first in a series of industry connection events. 

With support from

Ontario Arts Council logo

In partnership with

Grow North Microgrants

Grow North Microgrants

NYA Grow North Microgrants

North York Arts’ Grow North Microgrants fund artists based in North York to continue to develop their work and/or craft. The goal of these grants is to advance artists living in North York. As we desire to make this process as low-barrier as possible, these grants support a plethora of disciplines including, but not limited to: Indigenous arts, Disability arts, dance, literature, media arts, multi and inter-arts, music, theatre, visual arts, film.

This year’s funding can be used for the following eligible activities:

STREAM 1) Project Research & Creation

    • The artistic fees associated with the exploration and development of an artistic project or idea (research, exploration, and experimentation)
    • artist’s studio or workspace enhancements
    • **purchase of artist materials and supplies (brushes, dance shoes, self-tape equipment, etc)

**aspects of your activity that include the purchasing of equipment or other physical items cannot exceed 25% of your planned budget.

STREAM 2) Professional/Career Development

    • professional development and training (acting classes, consultation fees, certifications, etc.)
    • professional marketing and promotion (setting up a website to promote your art, new headshots, etc.)
    • mentorship (guidance or training by someone you are interested in working with, networking meetings, etc.)
    • software and hardware upgrades (purchasing video editing software, upgrading technology needed to engage with your craft, etc.)

Meet our 2023 Microgrant Recipients!

Brian Jiang

Discipline: Visual Arts

Meet Brian

Brian Jiang (they/she) is a queer trans multi-disciplinary artist of Chinese-descent based in Tkaronto. Their practice comprises of animation, illustration, painting, graphic design and beyond. As an artist collaborator working within the cultural sector, their arts-practice is informed by the love for their communities. Brian’s work draws upon mythology, the natural world, and lived experiences to explore the ties between identity, diasporic migration, kinship, and ecological connections. They have been commissioned by Pride Toronto, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, Inside Out Film Festival, Maisonneauve Magazine, LinkedIn StreetARToronto and more. Their work can be found at @_brianjiang.

This microgrant will be used to create a series of paintings that explore the implications of “passing” through my lens as a trans racialized individual.

Jay-Marie Phillips: pothound

Discipline: Music

Meet pothound

Jay-Marie Phillips, known as pothound, is a Trinidadian-Canadian musician, producer, and artist. Her music spans electro-pop and acoustic indie soul, exploring themes of identity, solitude, and the clash of cultures. pothound’s debut record, Video Garden is a concept album, drawing on visual themes of neon noir, solarpunk, and urban jungles.

Jay’s practice is intertwined with identity and belonging as a queer, trans, Scarborough-born, Trinidadian-raised artist and organizer living in Toronto. Her work strives to find meaning in being an outcast. In 2020, Jay co-founded Cooler Fete, a queer Caribbean diaspora party, and is one of the resident DJs.

This microgrant will be used to help aid in the creation and development of visual elements for my debut project, Video Garden, using 3D animation and illustration.

Nailah Renuka

Discipline: Circus and Dance

Meet Nailah

Nailah Renuka is a circus and dance artist celebrated for her exceptional athleticism, curious spirit, and captivating stage presence. Her creative approach prioritizes interdisciplinary collaborations among diverse visual, musical, and movement-based art disciplines as well as between various circus disciplines like contortion, pole, and lyra. She weaves transitional patterns and evocative imagery into her work, channelling the full spectrum of human physicality and the intricacies of musicality in her explorations of what it means to be human. Most recently Nailah has worked with Les 7 Doigts as a pole artist in the creation of a new show.

This microgrant will fund 8-month contortion, hand-balancing, and acrodance training with Samantha Halas and Katelyn Ettinger to enhance skills, artistry, and receive mentorship in the circus industry.

Natalie Paton

Discipline: Writing and Filmmaking

Meet Natalie

Natalie Paton is a writer and filmmaker who tells stories about womanhood, immigration, generational relationships, Western society, and power dynamics. She loves calling the multicultural city of Toronto her home and is continuously inspired by her experiences and the experiences of those around her. Her work focuses on a mix of fiction and documentary with the goal of contextualizing the systems around us through character-driven stories.

This microgrant will be used largely to pay for location-based filming in North York, interviewing local residents, and renting equipment for filming dates (est. 4 days).

Yago Mesquita

Discipline: Theatre

Meet Yago

Yago Mesquita is an emerging, queer Brazilian-Canadian theatre artist from Toronto, ON. He is a playwright, performer, and producer with values of authenticity, care, connection, creativity, and fun grounding his artistic practice.

Yago creates character-driven work from a young, queer, first-generation Canadian lens, heavily informed by his experience and that of friends, family, and fellow artists. Yago is keen to push the boundaries of theatrical storytelling through highly imaginative, poetic, sensitive, and revealing multidisciplinary work that uses stylistic surreal elements that divorce itself from realism.

This microgrant will support a self-directed experimentation process within the context of ABfe47 to better understand its theatrical form, which is essential to ABfe47’s development.


1. Can my project take place outside of North York?
We encourage you to seek out resources in North York for your project, but yes your project can take place outside of North York.

2. Why do you ask for demographic information?
North York Arts is strongly committed to equity and inclusion in our programs. With this in mind, we have set out specific programming goals in our strategic plan to better serve our communities.

We want to prioritize allocating funding to members of communities that have been historically marginalized. To ensure that we do so, we are collecting data on how our participants self-identify. This is optional and we appreciate your input.
That being said, we also understand that some artists may feel pressure to relate their applications back to the hardships of their marginalization. If that is not something that is true to your work or you don’t want to share, please do not feel obligated to include that information. We aim for you to feel uplifted and supported during this process and not that this process is an exploitation of identity.

3. What do you mean by “North York”?
Unsure if you live within the boundaries of North York? Please check if you are a resident of the following Ward Profiles:
6 – York Centre, 8 – Eglinton-Lawrence, 15 – Don Valley West, 16 – Don Valley East, 17 – Don Valley North, 18 – Willowdale
And M3N postal codes

4. How does Grow North define a “Professional Artist”?
A professional artist is someone who has developed their craft through formal training and/or equivalent practice; is recognized as such by fellow artists working in the same craft; actively practices and pursues their art; seeks payment for their work; and has a history of public presentation of their work.

5. I may end up needing more funding than I requested on my application- can Grow North provide me with additional funds?
No, Grow North does not have any additional funding to distribute out beyond what you were approved for, so please budget accordingly.

6. Will Grow North fund 100% of my activity costs?
Yes, Grow North will fund 100% of your activity costs. You are not expected to have any other sources of funding.
7. What makes a strong work plan?
A strong work plan is detailed and realistic. Please make sure to include all the activities that will make your project possible. This includes prep, delivery, budget and evaluation.

8. What criteria is used to evaluate applications?
Refer to the rubric here.

9. Who is on the jury?
The jury is composed of 6 members. 2 of the jury members are working artists and 4 who are representatives of North York Arts. Jasmine Vanstone, the project coordinator for the grants, will NOT be a member on the jury.

10. When will results be sent out?
Applicants will be notified about the results of their application in mid-late September.

11. What do you mean by “What is your relationship to North York”?
We want to understand how you relate to the North York community. Have you worked, lived, or played in North York and have rich memories and present ties to the neighbourhood? Do you have relationships or will be engaging community members or other artists in North York? Is your project inspired by North York? Although it is not mandatory to answer “yes” to the aforementioned questions, artists that clearly identify a strong relationship with North York will be given preference.

12. I’m not happy with the decision made about my application – can I appeal it?
No, decisions made by the Grow North grant jury are final. Where possible, we will make best efforts to provide jury’s comments and feedback. We welcome feedback on the application process by email to:

13. Why is this grant only available to ages 18-29?
In 2023, due to specific funding requirements the Microgrants will be supporting North York-based youth artists that are 18 to 29 years old. This may not be the case in future years.

Microgrant Application Tips

1) Set up a meeting with the program coordinator! Jasmine, our program coordinator, has allocated office hours until the deadline. There will be one-on-one and group office hours to talk through any questions you may have about the grant. She’s here to support you! If you don’t have time to set up a meeting with him, try to attend our information session on July 6th.

 2) Use simple language. Speak directly and passionately about your work and why you’re doing it. Don’t write formally or academically, you’re speaking to other artists on the jury. Write in your own voice and speak about your project with as much specificity as you can. The clearer you can be in articulating your goals, vision, activity, and how this funding is going to help you achieve it, the more successful you’ll be. 

3) Support materials matter. It can be very tough for jurors to assess art from just text in a grant application. This is where strong art-based support material can make a huge difference, because it can really illustrate the quality of your work. Good support material provides the jury a way to connect to your artistry in a more visceral way. If you are submitting support material, make sure all the files are of the highest quality. If you have a grainy video of you dancing, maybe opt out to submit the high quality pictures of you doing that same dance instead. 

4) Get feedback on your grant. When you’ve been working on an application for a few days, it can become very difficult to decipher whether your writing is communicating what you want it to communicate. Get a friend to read over your grant. Ask them if they understand your project and if they can spot any mistakes or gaps. Having a peer review your grant before submitting is one of the simplest ways to improve your grant writing. Also, offer to do the same for your friends, helping each other is vital!

5) Start early. As artists, we know how applying for grants last minute can make your life more hectic than it needs to be. We encourage you to start your application as early as possible. Especially when it comes to finding office hours with Jasmine or getting peer feedback on your grant, you will find folks much more helpful if you give them lots of time.

6) Save your answers in a separate document. Although Jotform allows you to save your answers if you make an account, we highly recommend you copy and paste the questions and answers into a separate document. This will ensure that your answers will not be lost…technology can be weird sometimes.

Meet our 2022 Microgrant Recipients!


Discipline: Pottery and Ceramics

Meet Aalyaland

Aalyaland is a Pottery and ceramics Artist that will use the Grow North Micro Grant to create a ceramic art installation entitled “Vigilaunties” depicting tea cups with red flags –spilling the tea on toxic aunties that perpetuate patriarchal mindsets and societal norms through their behaviours towards people of all genders.

“First and foremost, my goal is to make people laugh because of how relatable and unfiltered this project is. Most South Asian womxn and non-binary folks I know have experienced toxic aunty behaviour. My hope is to create an art installation that people capture, share, and send to aunties via WhatsApp (the App that they most use to send forwards on to their peers).” – Aalyaland


Anaiah Lebreton

Discipline: Multimedia

Meet Anaiah

Anaiah Lebreton is a Multimedia Artist that will use the Grow North Micro Grant to create a music video – merging graphic design with music production and videography to an original song highlighting queer love. On the second slide, you can find examples of Anaiah’s past work featuring snippets from a collaborative zine “Youth In Revolt, Rookies With Friends.”

“This project is important to me because I see it as an opportunity to actualize a vision of powerful rebellious Queer people I often see missing from media spaces” – Anaiah Lebreton

Miguel Caba

Discipline: Visual Arts

Meet Miguel

Miguel Caba is a visual artist/painter that will use the Grow North Micro Grant towards research on the demolition of apartment housing in North York and the stories of the people that live there and then produce art objects based on that research.

“This subject is important to me because I have also experienced displacement in North York as the building I have lived in for my whole life was demolished to build new condos. I know that this is not an isolated experience since many buildings are pending demolition or have already been demolished in North York and in each of those buildings resides hundreds of people all with their own stories similar to mine about navigating displacement.” – Miguel Caba

Pierre Poussin

Discipline: Sculpture

Meet Pierre

Pierre Poussin is a large-scale sculptor that will use the Grow North Micro Grant to learn and refine his skills of digital-hand-sculpting, helping his concept development and fabrication processes become much more efficient.

“This activity is very important to me because it would allow me to bring my digital art-making processes and public art skills to the next level. I want to take the time to learn digital sculpting, because I will be able to use this newly-acquired skill within my public art practice. I will hopefully be able to digitally-sculpt just as effectively and efficiently as sculpting with clay.” – Pierre Poussin

Shan Fernando

Discipline: Theatre

Meet Shan

Shan Fernando is a theatre artist, who will use the Grow North Micro Grant to fund research and writing of a new play, in addition to paying for a playwriting workshop.

“My play is about an affluent Toronto family, the Austins, as they navigate mental health, addiction, and the acceptance of one’s sexuality”- Shan Fernando

Shanika Lewis Waddell

Discipline: Music

Meet Shanika

Musician Shanika Lewis-Waddel will use the Grow North Micro Grant to fund the creation of a new work mixing electronic/ambient/experimental music with steelpan.

“I am curious to incorporate styles/instruments/sounds that aren’t commonly heard together. With a goal of play, exploration, curiosity to see what new things can expand from these often separated genres…I plan to interview my 94 year old maternal grandfather who lived the majority of his life in Trinidad. I want to incorporate some of his stories into the music and let that guide the creation. I want this to be a project that allows me to learn more about him and Trinidad through his eyes.”- Shanika Lewis-Waddel

This program is supported by:

City of Toronto Logo

Mentor in Residence x Accessible Futures

Mentor in Residence x Accessible Futures

Mentor in Residence x Accessible Futures

We are excited to announce that North York Arts and the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network are collaborating on the Mentor in Residence x Accessible Futures program.

This program will offer a professional development series, 4 dialogue sessions two-hour long presented online in the fall focused on increasing the capacity of non-disabled led organizations* to work with artists with disabilities/disabled artists and program staff. In addition to being able to attend one or multiple sessions, participating organizations and staff will have the opportunity to book free one-on-one consultation sessions to connect with mentors to support their organizational accessibility goals, frameworks, and advocacy. Registration for one-on-one sessions will be made available after the dialogue sessions.

Dialogue Sessions:

Sept 15, 2022 from 3pm to 5pm
Disability Justice for Organizations
Dev Ramsawakh, Pree aka Sticky Mangos, and Wy Joung Kou
Guided discussion co-led by NAN and NYA
Accessibility: CART

Sept 22, 2022 from 3pm to 5pm
Disability Justice Journeys Sharing Circles
Jumblies Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, and National Creation Fund
Moderated by Shay Erlich
Accessibility: ASL interpreters Latasha Lennox and Rogue Benjamin

Sept 29, 2022 from 3pm to 5pm
All About Accessibility Baseline
Accessibility: ASL interpreters

Oct 6, 2022 from 3pm to 5pm
Race and Disability Justice for Organizations
Natasha “Courage” Bacchus and Sivert Das
Moderated by Alia Ettiene
Accessibility: ASL interpreters Latasha Lennox and Kimberley Johnson

Each organization is offered 2 spots for staff or board members per session. Spots are limited and are first come first serve.

*All organizations are welcome and invited to participate should the series topics be of interest.

Meet our Mentors & Moderators:

Dev Ramsawakh


Meet Dev

Dev Ramsawakh is a disabled and non-binary multidisciplinary storyteller and producer. They were the 2019 TVO Short Docs Contest winner and their short films have been screened at CaribbeanTales Film Festival, Inside Out Film Festival, Toronto Queer Film Festival, and ReelAbilities Film Festival, among others. Their work has been published on Chatelaine, CBC, them, Xtra, and other publications. They’re included in the Disability Visibility anthology edited by Alice Wong and have fiction in the anthologies Two Times Removed and Toronto 2033. They also write poetry and facilitate workshops independently and with CRIP Collective around disability justice, storytelling, and more. 

Pree aka Sticky Mangos


Meet Pree

Pree (they/them) is an artist educator currently based in Tkaronto, originally from Tiohtià:ke. They’re a child of immigrant settlers from Panjab. Pree’s work is an ode to their extended youth as a trans and non-binary person, and create art for their inner child. Their main medium is watercolour, but Pree also embroiders, creates short films, writes and performs drag. They have an interdisciplinary arts practice under the name: Sticky Mangos. Pree’s online shop has been featured in CBC, Xtra magazine, and BlogTo. Their art has been featured in Luminato Arts Festival, Design TO festival and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Wy Joung Kou

(all pronouns)

Meet Wy J

Wy Joung Kou is an interdisciplinary artist, based in Treaty 13 Territory (Toronto), with a practice rooted in frameworks of disability justice. Their body of work spans mosaic, poetry, sound, movement, performance, video, and installation, and their educational trajectory as a professional artist has followed a path combining mentorship and community-models of learning & skill exchange. Kou is the Associate Artistic Director of ReDefine Arts, a performing member of Raging Asian Womxn Taiko Drummers, the inaugural winner of the 2018 JRG Grant for Artists with Disabilities, and an ILGBT Artist Residency alum. 

Shay Erlich


Meet Shay

Shay Erlich is a hard of hearing, multiply disabled, and genderqueer child and youth care practitioner, wheelchair dancer, and circus artist. Shay holds a MA degree in Child and Youth Care from X University. Shay is the co-founder of The Cyborg Circus Project, is a trans and disability led arts collective offering arts education, performance and social support to disabled young people aged 16-35 in Canada, centred in the Greater Toronto Area. Shay has also worked on dance and performance projects with a number of organizations including Political Movement, Theatre Passe Muraille, Jumblies Theatre, and Spur of the Moment Shakespeare Collective.

Furthermore, Shay has extensive experience working as an accessibility consultant in many settings including academic, artistic, and frontline services. They have spent the last ten years advocating for better inclusion and services for young people with disabilities, and currently work as an independent consultant assisting frontline service organizations and arts institutions in creating more accessible programs and productions for the diverse people that they work with through their business Shay Erlich Consulting. Shay also provides training and support for frontline practitioners who wish to improve their practice with disabled clients. Shay strongly believes in a social justice and disability rights approach within a child and youth care relational context. Shay’s vision for the future is one where disabled people have the support and resources that they need to thrive, and to fully participate in all areas of their lives, without having to constantly fight for resources.

Natasha “Courage” Bacchus


Meet Natasha

I am Natasha Cecily Bacchus. I am an athlete and interdisciplinary visual artist, passionate about deaf advocacy, fitness and physical expression. Throughout my life, I have nurtured my passion for fitness competing as a professional athlete and securing medal positions in the Deaf Olympics, Pan Am  Olympics and many other competitive sporting events. As an actress, I have participated in numerous theatre and film productions and have a strong desire to continue to grow and develop as a performing artist, expanding representation to include differently-abled persons and empowering Black Deaf women in Canada to shine on and off the stage.

Sivert Das


Meet Sivert

Sivert Das is a biracial, visibly, and invisibly disabled immigrant actor, voiceover artist, writer, musician, comedian, and activist based in Toronto. He a University of Victoria’s performance program and the Second City Conservatory graduate. He is the first physically disabled person of color to graduate from those programs. He has worked all over Canada as an actor. He has worked with Realwheels theatre, The Citadel Theatre, Second City, Bad Dog Theatre, Exitstageleft Productions, Workman Arts and the Phoenix Theatre. He has written two plays, “My Right Arm” “Zordon” .the former was read as part of Realwheels programming and the latter has been supported by grants from Cahoots Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille. His writing has also been published by Intermission magazine. His work combines the absurd and the fantastical mixed with poignant social commentary. His activism focuses on raising awareness for Disabled and BIPOC communities. He is grateful to be part of this process.

Alia Ettiene


Meet Alia

Alia Ettienne is a theatre writer, actor, performer and facilitator from Toronto, ON. Initially, she studied Performance at Sheridan College, moving on to explore Creative Writing and Arts Marketing. Her first solo piece, YellowZoned, premiered in The 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival and her creative wellness program, Chill N Do Art, has been running for a total of four years. Currently, she is most focused on The Creative Coping Kits Initiative, and writing her second full length piece Allow For Release: The Xiety Complex.



Meet Jocelyn

Jocelyn is a performing artist who is proud to return home to Canada. After studying at American Musical & Dramatic Academy (AMDA) and New School University in NYC, Jocelyn became involved with creating accessible theatre. From volunteering for TDF Autism Friendly Performances, directing pieces for Sign&Sing (Deaf & Opera performers sharing the stage), to teaming up with Drag Story Hour, Jocelyn is looking to expand inclusive art opportunities by sharing her learn knowledge and personal experiences. She has been advocating with award winning disability groups (CIDNY in New York City and Canadian Hearing Services in Toronto), she has developed a wide range of skills with the goal of achieving access for all in creative industries. Additionally, Jocelyn continues to perform in a myriad of projects with voiceover work, the latest being artist informational videos for Deaf Spectrum. She also has become inspired learning from other artists through the pandemic in different practices and now creates watercolours and ink illustrations.

Gaitrie Persaud


Meet Gaitrie

Gaitrie Persaud, a Torontian, lives and breathes acting and that is reflected in her amazing identity. She has been breaking down barriers to have AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETATION provided at music concerts. She has won Air Canada Center’s and CBC entertainment’s attention. Gaitrie is a firm
believer in creating opportunities for the Deaf Community and young deaf children. She has been in BLUE’S CLUES & YOU as Camila, the Deaf librarian and also, she is the NEWS ANCHOR for SIGNS1 News powered by CNN. She owns a theatre hub which is called PHOENIX THE FIRE. Her company provides ASL INTERPRETATION service, workshops, the plays and many more.

Her creation strives to increase the overall impact to provide the excitement of adventure to the deaf/hard hearing Community with the musical/theatre by ASL interpretations.

Proudly supported by:

About Us

North York Arts (NYA)  collaborates with artists, arts organizations, and partners to develop, strengthen, and promote cultural programming and initiatives for North York communities

Contact us 

North York Arts
5040 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON, M2N 6R8


Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

Join Our Network

Northbound Exhibition Program

Northbound Exhibition Program

Northbound 2019 Minhwa Canada | Photo by: Ricky Yu

NOTICE: All exhibitions have been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19. Please continue to check back for updates!

Northbound Exhibition Program is a free juried art program that was created in 2019 to support the professional development of emerging artists. The program prioritizes new-generation (18-29 years old) artists, newcomer artists, and artists with a connection to the North York community.

This year, Northbound will move from its old home at the Meridian Arts Centre to the bustling community hub of North York Centre. Northbound’s new location will foster new kinds of connections between artists and community members, and allow program participants to explore the impact and presentation of their work in a public space. 


Northbound 2020 Jury members:  

Adom Acheampong
Claudia Arana
Paola Gomez
Ely Lyonblum
Paola Poletto


Program Partners

Northbound Exhibition Program 2020 Lineup

Sahar Abdallah
Narrative lines

Anahita Akhavan

Aqsah Shah
Unraveling Dreamscapes

Anna Kavehmehr
Lacrima: /ˈ

MERAKI Project
MERAKI Project

Ashley Beerdat
A Series of Mythological Narratives

Northbound Exhibition Program 2019

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About Us

North York Arts (NYA)  collaborates with artists, arts organizations, and partners to develop, strengthen, and promote cultural programming and initiatives for North York communities

Contact us 

North York Arts
5040 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON, M2N 6R8


Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

Join Our Network

Evolve! Performing Arts Program

Evolve! Performing Arts Program

Evolve! Performing Arts Program

North York Arts is thrilled to launch our pilot program: Evolve!

Evolve! is a program that gives new and emerging Toronto-based theatre and dance artists an opportunity to explore, develop, revise or complete a work using high quality, accessible space and services.

Evolve! is a response to gaps in resources that serve to support the developmental stages of artists or arts groups in dance and theatre in North York and the wider Toronto community. The goal is to build the capacity of participating artists while creating more opportunities for the public to access arts in North York.

This year, Evolve! will take place at the Meridian Arts Centre and the Aga Khan Museum.


2020 participating artists and arts groups:

NOTICE: Remaining rehersals and performances cancelled due to COVID-19.

Neetika Sharma
January 21-24, 2020 | February 14 & 18, 2020
Meridian Arts Centre

The Haniin Project (working title) is a reflective study of that transition period between holding on to a feeling/emotion/thought and letting it go. It is an exploration of a constant tug of war between emotions that arises right before something dear must be allowed to release and let go. The choreography is set in the roots and vocabulary of traditional classical dance form of North India called Kathak. Using poetry and classical rhythms, the piece celebrates and explores sentiments that are not always acknowledged or defined.

Born in Libya, to Indian parents, Neetika started her performance journey at the age of 10. Today, she is a passionate Kathak performer, choreographer, instructor, arts manager and Culture and Diversity advocate.  She has a keen interest in exploring various layers of traditional Kathak repertoire and presenting them with new and relevant interpretations through research, creation and performance.

Cacao Collective | CANCELLED 
Aga Khan Museum

Traditional song and dance celebrate the resilience and joy of Venezuela’s cacao farmers fighting to preserve their way of life in the face of industrialization and a national crisis. Developed between Venezuela and Canada, this project also shines a light on the global chocolate trade and diasporic identities.

Click here to learn more.

Cyborg Circus Project | CANCELLED 
Aga Khan Museum

A striking exploration of trust, vulnerability, and human limits. In this piece, wheelchair dancers Shay Erlich and Jenna Roy examine today’s pressure to appear hyper-competent in all areas. Their work subverts expectations, offering new ways of understanding disability and imagining how disabled and non-disabled people can create a new world that does not demand hyper-competence.

Click here to learn more.

Elsewhere by Anaya Bobst | CANCELLED 
Aga Khan Museum

Originally from Sweden, Anaya Bobst is a dancer, choreographer and arts administrator. She currently works for Canada’s National Ballet School, presents her own works and teaches dance. Anaya brings a diverse and holistic set of experiences to the dance field as she has collaborated with other artists and worked for festivals, educational organizations and companies in Canada, the United States, Switzerland and Sweden. Anaya has presented her own works in the United States and Sweden and pursued a B.F.A in Dance and a minor in Entrepreneurship from Point Park University, USA.
Elsewhere portrays Anaya’s personal experiences during a time of despair. By differentiating expectations from reality, Anaya hopes to create a world into which people can enter. A world that reflects universal emotions and conditions. Movement and text create  the framework for this piece that addresses themes of solitude, curiosity and frustration
To learn more click here.

Grupo Teatro Libre | CANCELLED 
Meridian Arts Centre

Grupo Teatro Libre has, as its mission, a collective and collaborative way of doing theatre.  We present works by Latin Amerian playwrights in Spanish, their original language.  We offer workshops, dramatized readings and theatre presentations.  The group is open for whoever wishes to participate, as long as they wish to work according to the group’s participative philosophy.

For more information, contact

2018/2019 Participants

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About Us

North York Arts (NYA)  collaborates with artists, arts organizations, and partners to develop, strengthen, and promote cultural programming and initiatives for North York communities

Contact us 

North York Arts
5040 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON, M2N 6R8

Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

Join Our Network

Mentor in Residence

Mentor in Residence

NYA partnered with Neighbourhood Arts Network to present Mentor-in-Residence Program. 

Due to COVID-19, many artists have been forced to cancel and postpone event based presentations and exhibitions, causing many barriers for artists in re-designing showcases and event-based artistic programs.

The Mentor in Residence program assists artists with developing community arts practices by providing mentorship support in career planning, project development and entrepreneurial skills through virtual consultation sessions with industry professionals.

Watch the video to meet the NYA Mentors Melissa Foster and Cecilia Garcia!

Other participating organizations are: Urban ArtsScarborough ArtsCyborg Circus ProjectWorkinCultureTangled ArtsAirsa, and Jessica Watkin

Visit for mentorship specialty areas, mentor bios, and more information.

Mentor meetings are being delivered over Zoom and phone calls while we observe social distancing. Let us know if there is a different method of technology that works best for you by emailing


Sign up for this program has ended

About Us

North York Arts (NYA)  collaborates with artists, arts organizations, and partners to develop, strengthen, and promote cultural programming and initiatives for North York communities

Contact us 

North York Arts
5040 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON, M2N 6R8

Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

Join Our Network

Northbound Exhibition Program: Artist Open Call

Northbound Exhibition Program: Artist Open Call

North York Arts is excited to announce that Northbound Exhibition Program 2020 applications are now open!

Northbound Exhibition Program was created to support the professional development of emerging artists. Priority will be given to new-generation (18-29 year olds) artists/groups, newcomer artists/groups, and artists/groups with a connection to the North York community. Artists selected will receive FREE exhibition space at North York Centre in 2020!

Deadline to apply: November 17 2019, 11:59pm.

Northbound 2020 applications are officially CLOSED

Please read the application and guidelines thoroughly. If you have any questions, please contact Program and Volunteer Manager Cecilia at or 416-733-9388 x 7067.

About Us

North York Arts (NYA)  collaborates with artists, arts organizations, and partners to develop, strengthen, and promote cultural programming and initiatives for North York communities

 Contact us 

North York Arts
(Toronto Centre for the Arts)
5040 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON, M2N 6R8

Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

ThrowDown Dance Convention

ThrowDown Dance Convention

ThrowDown Dance Convention

UrbanArts is presenting the ‘ThrowDown’ Dance Convention– a 1-day annual urban dance platform aimed at promoting the importance of accessible and inclusive dance programs, highlighting the importance of physical literacy, offering new and exciting opportunities for growth and recognition to young performers, and encouraging community engagement through the vehicle of creative movement. Our 2019 theme is ‘Healthy Living through Dance’.

Through their dance showcase & competition, workshops & masterclasses, artist chats, and awards, ThrowDown promotes the development of artistic and life skills for youth in a supportive community atmosphere. Because of the generous contributions from key partners and supporters, Urban Arts is able to offer this dynamic dance platform 100% FREE for participants and attendees to experience.

Date: April 6th, 2019

Time: 10:30am – 5pm 

Place: Toronto Centre for the Arts

Price: Free

ThrowDown Dance Convention History

2018 ThrowDown Dance Convention

Date: May 13, 2018

Panel Discussion: “Creating A Balance As Communities Shift” – An expert panel will explore and exchange ideas on how to respond, advocate, and innovate in our schools, studios, and communities to provide dance programs and training for participants of all ages with different backgrounds, abilities, and evolving needs. How do we balance various cultural contexts, socio-economic conditions, and the varying landscapes in our communities? We welcome you for can-do thinking, deep discussion, and exchange of big ideas.

Dance Workshops & Masterclasses (For facilitators and dancers):  These workshops will focus on teaching dance-making skills to youth dancers, including creating movement themes and variations, exploring selected choreographic structures and utilizing elements of design to create exciting, meaningful and impactful work.

Community Dance Competition & Showcase: School & community dance programs, troupes, and local dance initiatives across the city come together to showcase in a main event that includes expert judges, hosts, prizes and loads of fun! ThrowDown will consist of a team dance/crew competition (16 teams). Performances will be scored by a panel of expert judges. (See ‘Rules & Regulations’ tab for scoring criteria). Various awards will be given out throughout the evening.

About Us

North York Arts (NYA)  collaborates with artists, arts organizations, and partners to develop, strengthen, and promote cultural programming and initiatives for North York communities

 Contact us 

North York Arts
(Toronto Centre for the Arts)
5040 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON, M2N 6R8

(416) 733-9388
Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story? North York and Scarborough

Join in a celebration of reading and writing in North York and Scarborough hosted by award-winning author Catherine Hernandez.

Presented by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization, the Toronto Arts CouncilNorth York ArtsScarborough Arts and the Toronto Public Library.

Date: June 9, 2018


Time: 1-4pm

Place: Victoria Village Library

Address: 184 Sloane Avenue, Toronto, ON

What's Your Story? 2018 Schedule

1:00 – 1:15 pm – A special presentation by Veronica Johnny.

1:15 – 2:15 pm – Author Readings

The What’s Your Story, North York writing competition winners read their North York inspired works.
– Author Lucy Black
– Author Sylvia Warsh

Introducing emerging North York writers:
– Laura Mullin
– Asheda Dwyer

The What’s Your Story, Scarborough writing competition winners read their Scarborough inspired works.
– Author and creative writing instructor Alexandra Leggat

Introducing emerging Scarborough writers:
– Natasha Ramoutar
– Petrose Tesfai
– Nicole Bayes-Fleming

2:15 – 2:30 pm – Refreshments

2:30 – 4:00 pm – Engaging Workshops for Writers

2:30 – Decolonizing Writing Practice with award-winning author Catherine Hernandez
This workshop will give participants tools to liberate themselves from the confines of “conventional” storytelling and find truth in their own literary voice. Participants can expect quick exercises to awaken and empower the writer within.

3:00 – Publisher Speed Dating
Writers, this is your opportunity to chat one-on-one with publishers: Quattro Books, Guernica Editions, Dundurn Press, Cormorant Books, ECW Press and Inanna Publications and get the inside track on what publishers are on the lookout for.

Words Rhymes and Life will be onsite and happy to chat about Saving the Novel.

These authors’ works have been published in an anthology that will be available for free to all attending.

What's Your Story? Winners

2018 Established Writer Winners:
Lucy E.M. Black
Sylvia Maultash Warsh

2018 Emerging Writer Winners:
Asheda Dwyer
Laura Mullin

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2017 Established Writers Winner:
Elyse Friedman

2017 Emerging Writer Winners:
Jennilee Austria
Robyn Hamilton
David Stokes

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2016 Established Writers Winners:
Domenico Capilongo
Richard Rosenbaum
Kenneth Sherman

2016 Emerging Writer Winner:
Sara Y. Cunningham

Read More