Raising Artists is an art program designed for children and parents held in SKETCH at Artscape Youngplace and the Centre for Social Innovation (Regent Park) at Daniels Spectrum. We spoke with CEO and founder, Alessandra Moretti, to learn more about how Raising Artists nurtures creativity, imagination and self-expression.
By Karen Whaley | Photography by Yasin Osman | Videography by Candice McCavitt
Regent Park: A Love Poem
In the lobby of the Paintbox Condos hangs a remarkable quilt titled, “Regent Park: A Love Poem”, a colourful streetscape where old apartment blocks stand next to shiny new towers, children splash in a wading pool, women tend to communal gardens and families picnic on expanses of bright green grass.
The Ada Slaight Youth Arts Mentorship Program at Daniels Spectrum is a multi-arts program that engages emerging artists from the Regent Park area. The program is designed to give them access to arts and cultural experiences, educational workshops and connects them with an industry mentor to help them take their art practice to the next level. This year’s mentees included: Allison Ha, Claudia Pena, Ida Zimmerman, Lynn Nguyen, Max Zimmerman Shandel Bailey, Shira Nakabitto, Stephanie Caldeira, Subrana Rahman, Tafriha Islam and Yvie Ramos.
Mustafa the Poet electrifies crowds as Pan Am poet laureate
Spoken-word poet Mustafa Ahmed has had a huge year. A Regent Park native and popular fixture at Daniels Spectrum, Mustafa the Poet has toured with We Day, hung out with Drake, and performed before an international crowd as poet laureate of the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
The response to Mustafa’s August 15th performance, where he extinguished the Pan Am flame to bring an official close to the games, was electric . Tweets from the event called the performance “powerful,” “awesome,” and “brilliant,” and the Toronto Star reported that “it was Mustafa the Poet, who recited one of his spoken-word poems before the Pan Am flame was extinguished, who brought soul to the closing ceremonies.”
Mustafa has been deeply involved with Daniels Spectrum since its opening, from sitting on the youth council to performing in the building dozens of times as part of tours and special events. He says that the chance to perform regularly was “really incredible, and a great way for me to get comfortable as a performer.” A graduate of the Ada Slaight Youth Arts Mentorship Program, he worked with pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo and other Regent Park Youth to create “Spectrum of Hope,” a music video that’s a “powerful expression of pride” for Regent Park.