SKETCH’s first location at the Great Hall on Queen and Dovercourt
SKETCH is a community-arts-development initiative based in Toronto engaging young people homeless and on the margins, ages 16-29, from across Canada. SKETCH creates equitable opportunities for diverse young people to experience the transformative power of the arts; to develop their leadership and self-sufficiency; and to cultivate social and environmental change through the arts.
SKETCH celebrates and proliferates its community-arts practice with partners in various Canadian towns and cities to build a movement where young people, free from barriers, are celebrated and engaged as culture-makers, perception changers and collaborators in building creative community.
Through a progressive learning framework in community arts that prioritizes equity and inclusion, young people’s imaginations can be invigorated to:
Registered Name: SKETCH working arts for street-involved and homeless youth.
Read below or view our visual timeline here.
SKETCH was conceived in 1996 by artist Phyllis Novak, with a core group of street-involved young people. From 1996-1999 SKETCH was a project-based initiative working with small groups of youth in visual arts and theatre, which led to two community interactive arts festivals connecting youth who were living rough (on the streets or in squats), and those in shelters.
In 1999, SKETCH established a storefront studio on Queen Street West and employed a full-time staff of artists and social workers to conduct community arts activities accessible to this unique population of young people.
In December 2001, SKETCH was incorporated as a non-profit organization, engaging over 200 youth per year in various arts programs, and received its charitable status in 2003.
In the spring of 2002, SKETCH moved into and renovated an old 6500 square-foot leather factory on King Street West in Toronto. The space was transformed into a number of separate studio areas dedicated to specific arts disciplines including visual arts and crafts, music, woodworking, sculpture, digital media, dance and theatre. The artistic vision for activities expanded into a framework of diverse and often interconnected arts practices.
To support its expanding programming, SKETCH built and moved into a 7,500-square-foot Creative Enterprise Hub in the Artscape Youngplace in 2013. This Hub dedicates space and resources to several arts disciplines including ceramics, culinary arts, textiles, music and sound recording, industrial arts, digital media, movement and theatre, and visual arts. Ten-week art sessions in selected disciplines are offered three times a year, with a Creative Enterprise Incubator offered during the summer.
Awards and Accolades
SKETCH is recognized locally, provincially and nationally for its unique, capacity focused approach to youth engagement and organizing through the arts: