Community artist supports creative youth in Toronto

Huda Eldardiry is a young mom living in Toronto and a community artist who graduated from SKETCH, a Toronto based community arts initiative that creates equal opportunities for young people between the ages of 16 to 29 living homeless and marginalized to experience the power of the arts.

Eldardiry has recently started a new project to provide financial support and guidance to young artists, like herself, who have graduated from community programs, like SKETCH. She took some time over the last few days to put together this piece about her cause and an important fundraiser on the horizon.

As each day passes, I hear more and more that the youth in the beautiful city of Toronto have to get creative. If they want a job outside of part time, short-term contracts, or jobs that don’t relate to their studies or practice, they need to make that job for themselves. They need to create it! But, for many youth, it is hard to make these goals realities. For a lot of us, we have to pay rent, buy groceries, pay bills, etc. We might not have the funds to create a creative career just like that.

My friend Shaughn Martel and I are two of these youth. We met in 2013 when we got accepted to SKETCH’s Community Artist Training Program. It was a one-year long initiative where we got paid to create our art portfolios while learning how to be community leaders and facilitators. However, like most youth, once we finished our training, we found looking for work in our individual arts practices extremely challenging.

Another thing we recognized was how we had drifted from our community and the support it offers. In order to stay connected, we decided to meet once a week to check in and motivate each other, using the goals we had as SKETCH Community Artists. With each conversation we had, whether about being alone or working with little to no space, proper tools and resources, we acknowledged we had to make some changes.

void-final-finalSo, this Friday, May 15 at Artscape Youngplace Flex Studios on West Queen W. in Toronto, we are starting this very change. We are putting together an event, lead by the youth in our city to raise funds for VOID Incubator. VOID was created to bolster financial access and independence by sharing networks and delivering resources to emerging artists and entrepreneurs.

Our goal over the next 365-days is to gain a physical space that will provide studio and office space for youth who are too old for youth arts programs or have gained enough creative and leadership skills to start working and are, as a result, gaining financial independence. The idea is to answer the “what’s next?” for people like Martel and I who have completed youth programming and are looking for continuous success.

On Friday, we will have music, a fashion show, film, spoken word, a gallery, a vendor market, plus more! There’s a $15 charge for general admission or the option to pay a $30 community contribution, which gets one person plus a youth in.

Take a peak of some of the vendor products and art that will be available on Friday:

If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area and want to see what the youth in our city have in store, come out and join us. We can’t wait to meet you! Get tickets here and help us make creative change to Toronto’s youth art industry.

By: Huda Eldardiry



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