Turning up the spotlight on newcomer artists: Toronto Arts Foundation and TELUS

Nominations are in for the Toronto Arts Foundation’s TELUS Newcomer Artist Award, a $10,000 cash prize. The award celebrates a professional newcomer artist living in the City of Toronto who is making a positive impact in their community. The TELUS Newcomer Artist Award is administered by Neighbourhood Arts Network, an initiative of the Foundation.

Toronto Arts Foundation and TELUS celebrate the third year of their partnership, with TELUS as the named sponsor of this award. This partnership enables the Foundation to develop and strengthen partnerships with settlement organizations, expand the reach of the Newcomer Artist Award throughout the city and facilitate the creation of networking and professional development opportunities for newcomer artists.

Why was this program created?

As mentioned in our earlier article on the RBC Newcomer Artist Spotlight, in 2013 Toronto Arts Foundation released a study on the impact of arts at a neighbourhood level.

In 2013, Toronto Arts Foundation released a study of the impact of arts a neighbourhood level. Titled Transforming Communities through the Arts, this was the culmination of a research partnership with Art Starts, OCAD University, and York University. The goal of the study was to gain a better understanding of how residents engage with the arts at a community level, to explore barriers to arts access and to identify ways to strengthen local arts engagement.

From June 2011 to July 2013, the research team conducted a research study to explore arts involvement and the impact of arts in three neighbourhoods in Toronto: Malvern, St. James Town and Weston Mt. Dennis. Working with community organizations and community liaison workers, 17 researchers conducted focus groups, interviews, and surveys with close to 200 residents, artists, arts groups, and social service organizations working and living with these communities.

The study revealed that, like other foreign-trained professionals, newcomer artists face difficulties finding work and making connections in their new home. As Bruno Capinan, recipient of the 2014 TELUS Newcomer Artist Award stated, “there are challenges but that just makes me want to go for it!”

The full report and the community report of Transforming Communities through the Arts can be found here on the Toronto Arts Foundation website.

“These barriers keep newcomer artists hidden,” states Margo Charlton, Research Manager at the Foundation and one of the authors of Transforming Communities through the Arts. “We need continued support to help newcomer artists find their place in the city.”  

Stay tuned as we release the names of the TELUS Newcomer Artist Award finalists at the beginning of October. The award recipient will be announced October 16.