Announcing the 2019 Community Arts Award Finalists

Toronto Arts Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network celebrates three outstanding finalists for the $10,000 Community Arts Award

TORONTO, September 19, 2019 – Toronto Arts Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network is pleased to announce the finalists for the $10,000 Community Arts Award. The award celebrates an individual artist or organization that has made a significant contribution in Toronto by working collaboratively with culturally diverse communities and creating access to arts and culture. In 2019, the award will be presented to an individual.

Established in 2013 as the Arts Diversity Award, the award was re-named the Community Arts Award in 2018. This year's award is generously sponsored by MOD Developments.

The finalists for the 2019 Community Arts Award are:

Paola Gomez

The co-founder and director of Muse Arts, Paola Gomez is a human rights lawyer, community organizer, public speaker, artist facilitator, writer and dreamer. Her work integrates the arts, community engagement and anti-oppressive frameworks. Paola is also the co-founder of Happening Multicultural Festival, where the works of newcomer, refugee and immigrant artists from diverse backgrounds take centre stage. As a community leader, researcher and emerging curator, Paola has contributed to the access and visibility of other Latin American artists in the Toronto arts scene and also helped create spaces for women’s stories to be told. Paola currently teaches Applied Community Arts at Centennial College.

Sage Lovell

Sage Lovell is an artist, educator, and writer. Before moving to Toronto, Sage lived in Washington, D.C., where they attended Gallaudet University, the only post-secondary institution specifically designed to accommodate the needs of Deaf students. The experience made Sage realize that Deaf accessibility was more than 20 years behind in Canada. Sage returned to their roots and focused on advocacy, which led them into creating art as political statements. Since then, they’ve been working closely with various communities, developing meaningful work that continues to evolve, incorporating media, language, theatre, and accessibility into art. Those experiences led Sage to found Deaf Spectrum, a collective established to promote the accessible usage of American Sign Language (ASL).

Collette Murray

Collette Murray is a dance performer, instructor, mentor, and cultural arts programmer. Also known as “Miss Coco,” her performance background includes traditional West African drum/dance and Caribbean folk dance. Collette’s mobile dance education business offers dance instruction and performance rooted in African and Caribbean experiences. She is also a contributing writer for The Dance Current and Dance Collection Danse. Currently, Collette is a MEd candidate at York University’s Faculty of Education, where her graduate research focuses on the successes and challenges of culturally responsive artists teaching in the Ontario education system.

“The Community Arts Award celebrates those who are building our creative city by bringing communities together through the power of the arts,” said Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Foundation. “This year’s finalists demonstrate a commitment to equity and accessibility that empowers Toronto’s diverse artists to share their unique stories.”

“MOD Developments is thrilled to be a sponsor of the 2019 Community Arts Award,” said Noorez Lalani, President, MOD Developments. “As city-builders, our developments have continually shown a commitment to the arts and artists in Toronto. We congratulate both this year’s winner and the Toronto Arts Foundation for the work it does making this city a better place.”

The award jury included spoken-word poet Britta Badour; Charles Hong, artistic director of Ensemble Jeng Yi; Lindy Kinoshameg, community engagement facilitator at Young People’s Theatre; lyricist and spoken-word poet Brittany Exmiranda Manu; and multidisciplinary artist Nadijah Robinson.

The award recipient will be announced at a reception on October 22, 2019 at The Power Plant gallery at Harbourfront Centre.

To learn more about the Community Arts Awards and the 2019 finalists, visit the Neighbourhood Arts Network’s website.

About Toronto Arts Foundation

Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that sparks creative connections, spotlights artistic excellence, and supports vibrant cultural growth throughout our diverse city through private-sector investment. To learn more or to make a donation, visit

About Neighbourhood Arts Network

Neighbourhood Arts Network, a network of over 2,400 members, is a strategic initiative of the Toronto Arts Foundation, offering accessible arts programming, awards, and partnership opportunities to local artists, arts workers, and arts organizations working throughout the City of Toronto. To learn more, visit

Contact information:

For more information about the Community Arts Award, please contact Tabassum Siddiqui, Interim Communications Manager, at or 416-392-6802 x 217.