4 Directions Festival

4 Directions Festival

EAST EVENT: DENTONIA PARK, FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2017 10:00 am – 2:30 pm

10:00 – 10:15 am Opening Drumming Ceremony

10:15 — 10:30 am Speaker: Michael Cheena, Residential School Survivor

10:30 – 11:45 am Fiya Bruxa Arts Education Workshop

11:45 – 12:25 pm Lunch

12:25 — 12:45 pm Chimera Project perform “Bears, Stars and Trees”

  12:45 — 12:50 pm Speakers: Kevin Harp & Chester Abbotsbury, Inter-Generational Survivors

12:50 — 1:05 pm 6 Bronx Zoo & Wasun

 1:05 — 1:15 pm First Fire Dance Crew

 1:15 –1:30 pm Bucc n’ Flvr

 1:30 –1:45 pm Ruben “Benny” Esguerra

 1:45 –2:00 pm MataDanze Perform “La Raza Cosmica”

 2:00 –2:15 pm Harmony Hall Seniors Dance Group

 2:15 –2:25 pm Lone Child

 2:25 –2:45 pm Love Seyon & Shams

SOUTH EVENT: TBA, SUNDAY, JUNE 18, 2017, TBA 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

12 noon – 12:15 pm Opening Drumming Ceremony

12:15 – 12:30 pm Speaker: Michael Cheena, Residential School Survivor

12:30 –1:30 pm Lunch

1:30 – 3:00 pm Jojo Geronimo , Globalization, Global Migration, and Indigenous Rights Popular Education Workshop

3:00 — 3:30 pm Performances & Speakers: Kevin Harp, Chester Abbotsbury, Pantayo, Whitney French, The Wind in the Leaves Collective


WEST EVENT: BROADACRES PARK, MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2017, 10:00 am – 2:30 pm

10:00 — 10:15 am Opening Drumming Ceremony

10:15 — 10:30 am Speaker: Michael Cheena, Residential School Survivor

10:30 – 11:45 am Fiya Bruxa Arts Education Workshop

12:00 — 12:30 pm Lunch

12:30 — 2:30 pm Storytelling Workshop Residential School Survivors, Inter-Generational Survivors, and the Journey of Healing and Hope with Lee Maracle, Michael Cheena, Kevin Harp & Charles Abbotsbury


NORTH EVENT: TORONTO CENTRE FOR THE ARTS, WED, JUNE 21, 2017, 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm

5:30 – 6:30 pm Pre-Reception

6:30 – 7:00 pm Opening Drumming Ceremony & Performance, Veronica Johnny

7:15 – 7:30 pm Speaker: Michael Cheena, Residential School Survivor

7:00 – 9:45 pm ImagiNative Presents: You Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice

9:45 – 10:15 pm Questions and Comments


Four Directions Reconciliation and the Arts Festival:

Honoring Residential School Survivors and Moving Forward on Righting Relations

The Four Directions Reconciliation and the Arts Festival in Toronto, June 16-21st, 2017, is about raising awareness on reconciliation and indigenous issues. We hope to educate the general public about the residential school experience, the 94 Calls to Action on Reconciliation, and the colonialist policies and attitudes of the Canadian government and society.

It is one of the darkest chapters in the history of the nation state that celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. That’s a chilling number, when you consider that Residential Schools scooped 150.000 children away from their families to experience neglect, disease, oppression, and abuse. Canada is celebrating 150 years of Confederation in 2017, but for the First Nations people it is more like a celebration of colonialism and we don’t want to celebrate that. Instead we want to honour the Indian residential school survivor legacy and the restoration of our identity as indigenous people.

I am Michael Cheena, a residential school survivor.  My connection to the Indian residential school survivor movement began in 1994. I filed a lawsuit against the federal government for residential school abuses: the loss of language, the loss of culture, and the loss of identity. We were indoctrinated to be Christians in the residential school system. We weren’t allowed to practice our indigenous culture and languages. The goal of this legislative government policy was assimilation – an attempt to kill the Indian in the child.

We are Kevin Harp and Chester Abbotsbury, federal Native prisoners and inter-generational survivors who recently came to Toronto after serving 8 years at Collins Bay Penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario. We will be speaking at the festival to give people a better understanding of why indigenous people are so overpopulated in the federal prisons. Today, Canadian prisons are the new residential schools.

Restorative Relations Working Group Co-Chair, Reverend Brian McIntosh, sees Four Directions as an historic opportunity to recognize and celebrate the cultural and artistic contributions of the people of all nations who reside together in this land, and the reconciliation and right relations that we are all called to undertake and build: “Guided by the promise of the circle and four directions teachings of Indigenous peoples, this Festival celebrates our collective diversity and urges all participants to honour the presence and gifts of all who live in this region, particularly its first inhabitants, as we strive for harmony and healing.”

by Micheal Cheena, Chester Abbotsbury, Kevin Harp, and Chris Harris, PhD

Finding Home

Finding Home

Finding Home

Curated by: Maha Munaf
Place: Toronto Centre for the Arts

A visual story of loss, love, and finding home, this project marries the six-word memoir concept (popularized by Smith Magazine) and photography. The interactive photo exhibition will take you to the streets of old Damascus, exploring themes of identity, culture, and tradition: the different influences that shape the concept of home when considering immigration.

Learn More

My City My Six Youth Workshop

My City My Six Youth Workshop

My City My Six: Youth Art and Spoken Word Program

Join us to celebrate the closing of our 8 week multi-media arts and spoken word program!

Drum Circle led by Adele Passmore
Pop up exhibition by Dreamation
Spoken Word performances by Sociphoria
My City My Six activities

Time: 4:30 – 6:30om
Place: Downsview Hub, 70 Canuck Ave, North York

Contact Melissa Foster at melissa@northyorkarts.org or 416.733.9388 x 7065

No Strings Theatre

No Strings Theatre

Cost: Free
Time: 2-5pm
Place: Toronto Centre for the Arts

Get a taste of No Strings Theatre Summer Intensive program with this FREE musical theatre workshop.This spring sampler session offer a no-stress, fun and dynamic outlet for young artists wanting to experience a typical day in the vibrant world of music theatre.  Led by top music theatre industry professionals, students will be led through acting, singing and dance classes in an environment that is supportive, silly and sensational.

find out more about the Summer Intensive program here.

Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship Grant Program Info Session

Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship Grant Program Info Session

Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship Grant Program Info Session



Date: Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
Time: 1 – 3 pm
Location: Toronto Centre for the Arts
Cost: Free

The Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship program provides funding for newcomer and refugee professional artists to be mentored in their chosen artistic discipline. The program is open only to professional artists who arrived in Canada after January 1, 2010 and who live in the City of Toronto.

Join Rupal Shah from Toronto Arts Council and Inés Aguileta from Neighbourhood Arts Network to learn more about the Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship program. We will be talking about who is eligible to apply, how to find a mentor and how to get started on your application.

Please e-mail rupal@torontoartscouncil.org to reserve your spot in the session. Include your full name as well as any translation services or accessibility services you require.

Airsa Art: Nowruzgan

Airsa Art: Nowruzgan

Nowruzgan: Multicultural Art Exhibition


Date: March 17 – 26, 2017
Opening Reception: March 18,2017 – 6-8pm
Place: Toronto Centre for the Arts

Nowruz (also called Noruz, Nowrooz, and Navruz), the “New Year” holiday, has been celebrated for at least 2,500 years, and perhaps for as long as 5,000 years. Originating in Persia, its name means “new day” in Farsi/Persian because it marks the first day of the New Year. The exact beginning of the New Year occurs when the season changes from winter to spring on the vernal equinox, which usually happens on 20 or 21 March each year.

International Nowruz Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/64/253 of 2010, at the initiative of several countries that share this holiday (Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan). Also in Ontario, March 21 is proclaimed as Nowruz Day as an Act in 2006.

Nowruzgan, Multicultural Art Exhibition @Toronto Centre for the Arts

Nowruzgan is a multicultural art exhibition to celebrate Nowruz and the first day of spring. The event aims to share the holiday with the community and give a voice to multiple artists and their personal interpretations.



Mao Correa : Solitary Portraits 2017

Mao Correa : Solitary Portraits 2017

Mao Correa : Solitary Portraits 2017

Date: February 9 – 25, 2017
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Friday 1-6 pm 
Place: Toronto Centre for the Arts
Cost: Free
Closed: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 for Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship Grant Program info session

Opening Reception:
Date: February 9, 2017
Time: 5-8pm

Join Mao Correa in his most recent art-journey: Solitary Portraits (series 2017) and in welcoming the Express-Art(e) Colombia… A women-window project for a country momentum.


My City My Six

My City My Six

My City My Six

Tell your story in six words

My City My Six is a participatory public art project that will reveal Toronto and its residents in celebration of Canada 150, six words at a time. From January through May 2017, the My City My Six project will ask Torontonians of all ages and backgrounds to share something essential about themselves in six words.

Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a six word story. He responded with, “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn”, and the six word story was born.

Based on the six word story concept popularized by Smith Magazine, this project invites Torontonians to write and contribute six words that best tells their story. My City My Six will culminate in a city-wide exhibition in the public realm in the fall of 2017, showing the diverse lives that collectively make up this great city at this moment in time.

This project is led by Toronto Arts and Culture in collaboration with the city’s six Local Arts Service Organizations. Stories will be collected through emails, workshops, and events. A jury, including Toronto’s Poet Laureate Anne Michaels, will select stories to appear in the exhibition, which will include transit shelters, transit interiors, billboards, and other public spaces. Local galleries, businesses and public spaces will also be animated as part of the exhibition in September and October 2017.

See sample six word stories below: (Courtesy of 6 Words Minneapolis)


To Participate:

Please email culturalhotspot@toronto.ca and include:

  • your six word story
  • your first name
  • the name of your neighbourhood
  • your age

If you have questions about the My City My Six project, please contact Andrea Raymond-Wong, Community Cultural Coordinator at Andrea.Raymond-Wong@toronto.ca or 416-338-2469.


Dusty Roads
Low Salaries
Wonderful People
– Edith, 88 Downtown

– Alf, 17, North Mpls.


At Ninety-Nine, I’m still a Musician
– Gabrielle, 99 SW Seniors Ctr.

I was afraid, now I’m fierce
– Maggie, 38, N.E.

Go to the Park and Play
– Zara, 4 Fulton

All My Life, I’ve held on
– Anonymous, 18, Kingfield

Tabla and Taiko

Tabla and Taiko

Tabla and Taiko: Two Ancient Traditions Meet

Cost: $30
Date: April 15, 2017
Time: 7pm

Join Toronto Tabla Ensemble and Nagata Shachu on April 15th, 2017 for an evening of scintillating rhythms at Toronto Centre for the Arts. Both Toronto-based ensembles have contributed immensely to the World Music scene in Canada, raising the profiles of Indian and Japanese music respectively over the last 25 years. This concert will feature compositions by the two ensembles’ maestros, Ritesh Das and Kiyoshi Nagata, who have created new works that maintain each tradition’s form to create a truly novel sound.

The concert will feature percussive traditions whose roots trace back thousands of years with the ultimate goal of bringing communities together in a celebration of Canadian heritage during the country’s 150th year. Both Das and Nagata were among the pioneers of cross-cultural music collaboration in Toronto with their respective ensembles in the early 1990’s. Rejoining forces in 2015, they stunned audiences with a sold out concert at the Harbourfront Centre. One of their newly composed pieces, Sare Panch (Five-and-a-Half), will feature on the upcoming Toronto Tabla Ensemble album Bhumika (Sanskrit word for Earth) to be released in Fall 2017.

Another milestone to be celebrated on the night is the launch of a partnership between Toronto Tabla Ensemble and co-presenter North York Arts. The two arts organizations aim to continue producing unique presentations to foster artistic development in the North York community. After receiving the 2016 Roy Thomson Hall Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation, Toronto Tabla Ensemble’s artistic director Ritesh Das said “2017 is an exciting year and we are always looking to raise the bar”. The Ensemble’s 2017 concert season will also feature an album release concert and a collaboration with modern dance group Kaeja d’Dance at the Harbourfront Centre.