In the second quarter, SKETCH continues to practice our program engagement framework based in our Theory of Change, which posits that if young people living on the margins engage and develop in the arts, they will increase their resilience and capacity to live well, overcome the constraints of poverty and marginalization, and lead in creating inclusive and artful communities. This happens through programs and activities within the areas of Arts Engagement, Arts Incubation, and Arts Platform.
The profile on youth engaged at SKETCH
In the spring series, SKETCH engaged 389 individual youth in programming, 333 of them through SKETCH program offerings, and 68 through CUE and the mentorship platform.
SKETCH programs saw a total of 1968 visits, with an additional 345 through the mentorship platform, for a total of 2,313 visits. Of the total visits, 180 were by youth who were new to SKETCH, who engaged primarily through Outreach, Rad Grad, the Platform A show, CUE, and the silkscreening and music programs. This is by far the greatest number of visits to SKETCH programs since 2011, when SKETCH ran out of our old King Street location. The great increase in numbers is due in large part to running several program events (Rad Grad, Platform A and Activate/Celebrate by Krafty Queers); more Outreach programs; more music programming now that the recording studio is fully operational; a popular Circus series; and busier seasons for CUE, the CA program and Just Clay.
SKETCH is committed to building relationships with diverse youth communities. We have worked to identify access barriers to ensure greater participation for youth with differing abilities. We have built relationships with organizations and individual leaders in the trans-youth community to identify access barriers for trans youth. We continue to work to foster participation by racially diverse youth, and have identified specific communities that are underrepresented at SKETCH, such as youth of Asian origins and young Muslim women. We are developing an outreach strategy to address some of these gaps.
SKETCH strives to make programs and activities as accessible as possible, including through providing meals, gender-neutral washrooms, childcare, and wheelchair-accessible program spaces. Nevertheless, in evaluations youth fed back that some elements of accessibility still need to be improved: more tokens (which were cut from most programs this quarter) so that youth can simply attend, more ASL interpretation (ASL was occasionally offered, in particular in Krafty Queers, but not often or consistently enough), push-button access to make the “accessible” washroom useable by people using wheelchairs, and evening programming for people with daytime responsibilities.
SKETCH held two Orientation sessions this quarter, bringing in 6 new youth, and also built relationships with community agencies who brought in groups of youth (Horizons for Youth, Turning Point Youth Services, Eva’s Initiatives and Youth Without Shelter). SKETCH also led outreach activities at Knox Community Church, connecting with 23 new youth. SKETCH’s events this quarter brought in many new youth: 30 each to Rad Grad and Platform A.
SKETCH continued to have an extremely broad network of program partners, including Knox Community Church, Second Harvest, Platform A (Jumblie’s, Arts for Children and Youth, ArtStarts), Neighbourhood Arts Network, Sandbox Studios, Indie 88, Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Toronto Animated Image Society, Toronto International Film Festival, Macgregors Meat, College-Montrose Early Years Centre, Massey Centre, Streets to Trails, Evergreen Brick Works, Humber College, Ballet Creole, Social Circus Circle, Art Gallery of Ontario, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Justice for Children and Youth, the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Pride Toronto and Sherbourne Health Centre.
SKETCH made 37 referrals to resources and networks of supports around the city, such as shelter and housing, primary health and mental health, food security resources, arts- and youth-focused resources and partner agencies. SKETCH also facilitated the engagement of five young parents by continuing a partnership with College-Montrose Early Years Centre to provide free childcare while youth participate in programs. The program team also facilitated three different conflict-resolution or transformative justice processes this quarter, addressing issues such as harassment, discrimination and social isolation, so that youth could repair damaged social relationships and resume engaging healthfully in the space together.
While this quarter’s Culinary Arts workshops were cancelled, the Culinary Arts crew continued to prepare meals for programs, beginning each day with a nourishing homemade meal in a social and relaxing setting, a total of over 1500 meals over the course of the quarter.
This continues to be a real highlight for SKETCH youth: in the quarter’s evaluation, an incredible amount of the feedback from youth focused on how “satisfying” and “nourishing” the food was, the role it played in their self-care, health and wellness, and the dignity they felt by having their basic needs acknowledged and met. The communal meals continue to be an important tool to bring youth together to share food in a healthy social space.
“(SKETCH) has brought me healthy meals and a place to hang out. And taught me artistic skills: violin… stop-motion… Garage Band… and I did a mural project at the University of Toronto…”
With more than 20 programs and projects this quarter, SKETCH ran a wide and varied roster of programs in many different media. Youth’s imaginations were ignited in visual arts and crafts (Dab It, Krafty Queers, Silkscreening, Market/Gallery), movement arts (yoga, dance, circus, kung fu, Connect To Youth), music (vocal training, guitar circle, live jamming, recording, beat making, instrument lessons, Turn Up Your Volume), community arts trainings (Get Your Art Hustle on!, Chrysalis), new media (Make It Move animation and Type/Cast), creative writing (Street Voices, Pink Ink), textiles (SewGood, the Textile Art Collective) and enviro-arts (Wild Living).
“SKETCH is good in the way that when you arrive people say oh “hi how are you doing.” They make you feel unstressed and it’s a really therapeutic mindset, instead of work, profit, profit kind of thing.”
This quarter 394 youth attended once or twice, exploring creative possibilities and familiarizing themselves with SKETCH’s offerings. Ninety-one youth came between three and five times, moving into structured workshops and formal sessions. Sixty-three youth came over five times, their repeated visits demonstrating a commitment to developing themselves as artists, youth leaders and creative entrepreneurs.
This quarter, SKETCH received youth feedback through a program evaluation involving surveys and arts-based exercises. When asked the question “How much has SKETCH provided a space for your interests, something to do, your recreation, or enjoyment of the arts?”–71% youth responded by saying “all the time,” and 21% said “often.”
“I’m happy to be able to practice and work on my art here.”
SKETCH continues to use the “hosting” model as a way to welcome youth to the studios, build healthy relationships and guide them through the program offerings to find the activity that facilitates their interests. This model positions coordinators and placements as the “greeters” in program, so that youth and the program team build relationships, youth can feedback program requests or concerns, and youth can get the referrals or other supports they may need.
“SKETCH is a workspace to focus on growing my skills.”
In the spring series, SKETCH ran workshops in a wide variety of media and thematic focuses. In the Music programs, youth built skills in music composition, music software, music literacy, engineering and recording. Specifically, through experimentation and collaboration, they gained hard skills in creating music using acoustic and digital instruments, music production, improvising with others in a live music setting, playing with others in a recording session, writing lyrics, making soundtracks for films, and vocal or instrument training. The variety of music workshops means that emerging musicians at all points in their burgeoning careers can develop competencies in the areas they need to–from self-expression and experimentation to fine production skills, whether it be a first instrument lesson or advanced engineering sessions. Each series within music builds on the others, allowing youth to engage long-term and develop substantial skills. This quarter alone, youth completed at least 20 recorded songs, connected with five performance opportunities, and connected with other musicians to build bands.
Movement programming this quarter included yoga, kung fu, hip hop and tap dance, and a special circus series. Yoga and kung fu fostered wellbeing and self-care through exploration and physical literacy, while tap and hip hop taught rapid choreography and group cohesion. The circus series developed strong group work and trust in duo and group skits.
In creative writing, Street Voices returned this quarter, a site for youth to develop their literacy and self expression through writing and live spoken word performance.
In Pink Ink, Aja Fernandes and Sonny Berenson led queer, trans and two-spirit youth in storytelling and writing, experimentation and sharing, culminating in the creation of poems and short stories on themes of gender, sexuality and healing, which were compiled into a Pink Ink zine and launched at Rad Grad. The program was a site for healthy community-building through literacy in a safe and supportive environment. Both Street Voices and Pink Ink have a devoted and consistent following, with youth returning regularly to deepen their skills over time.
Dab It / Cross Hatch It is SKETCH visual arts skills development program. Participants practiced fine art techniques in life drawing and painting fundamentals, and practiced these skills by developing diverse bodies of work during their independent studio time, in a steady progression of developing techniques and expanding interests.
The program included both skills development and independent studio sessions. This format worked quite well, with youth using the freedom of the unstructured time to create work for Market/Gallery opportunities, experiment (and have time to fail and try again), create portfolio pieces, or follow an independent creative vision. This program also connected youth with the Market/Gallery program, and gave them the skills to conceptualize, present and price their work.
This quarter, SKETCH partnered with the Toronto International Film Festival and the Toronto Animated Images Society to offer Make It Move!, an animation video intensive.
Six youth participated intensively throughout the spring, using stop motion, shadow puppetry, claymation and cell animation to create five hilarious, touching and impressive short videos. This session was successful due to an excellent three-organization partnership, skilled facilitators, and youths’ desire for new media programming. Some youth came with video experience, some with none, but each left the series with expanded interests and deepened skills in a challenging medium, and a desire to further explore new media.
In Textiles this spring, youth learned the basics of sewing in SewGood–from hand sewing and basic patterns–and finer skills in the weekly Textiles Arts Collective, where they workshopped small textiles business possibilities with people working in the industry.
In Krafty Queers, a multidisciplinary arts program for LGBTQ youth, participants made art and crafts (crochet, collage, painting and visual composition and construction), while working with like-minded youth and artist facilitators, sharing resources and networks. Youth involved in the sessions also ramped up into leadership, with two deaf participants facilitating a session making tiaras. The end of the season was marked by Activate/Celebrate, a KQ event in which 40 youth celebrated the end of KQ with t-shirt dying, screen-printing, button making, film screenings, performances by SKETCH youth, and an artful land acknowledgement by renowned First Nations Actor Waawaate Forbister.
In Movement programming this quarter, SKETCH was visited by excellent external facilitators: Rikki Chisvin, who led hip-hop and tap-dance workshops, and the Social Circus Circle, which led their innovative Red Light programming for physical literacy and team building. The latter included trust exercises, social games, physical self-expression exercises, group work, and public performances at street parties and community events. The collaborative, cooperative workshop design helped youth develop a strong group dynamic, and youth fed back that they felt greater trust in themselves and others, a sense of belonging, and a desire to build their leadership within the safety of a tight-knit community.
“I surprised myself with a lot of this… getting to know the circus stuff and getting to know you guys. Amazing, amazing group of people, talented too. I’m learning new stuff, gaining new skills, finding my place.”
Silk Screening returned this quarter, with 10 weeks of stenciling, image preparation, creating images and screens for multi-colour prints, registration and mass production. A large group of devoted youth returned weekly to create individual prints on patches, posters, t-shirts and sweatshirts, logos and branding, pieces for clothing lines, and CD covers.
Most youth returned from last session, plus there were several new youth who began quiet and reluctant, but took to silkscreening with enthusiasm and joy. One wanted to make a shirt reflecting her pride in overcoming barriers related to gender and sexual identity, and completed a beautiful shirt that said “YES I CAN!” The program successfully catered to the needs of youth at all levels of experience and skill: the flexible design allowed youth who were new to the medium to receive intensive instruction, and more experienced youth to have production time to focus and create.
SKETCH continues to work toward the development of a system that formally tracks youth’s progression through SKETCH’s learning framework. To this end, we worked with AVNU to develop a framework based on SKETCH’s Theory of Change using Open Badges, which we will pilot in the fall.
Youth were asked “Does SKETCH provide a space for you to learn skills for arts development, employment, or education?” Youth responded, with 46% saying “all the time,” 23% saying “often,” and 30% saying “sometimes.” In verbal responses, youth fed back that they would like to see more opportunities for skill-building and opportunities to perform, sell and exhibit their work.
Another repeated suggestion from youth surrounded the desire for an open studio or independent studio-style program: “We need more open studio. This includes drop-in programs where people can just come–they don’t have to be a part of a workshop. It’s what made SKETCH special in the first place. There have been downfalls to open studio (disrespect of materials, too much need for funds). However, the current system of set workshops/modules prevents access. SKETCH should strive towards access-drop-in-open-studio space. We should not forget how open studio makes a difference.” These requests have been consistent, and the program team are designing such a program for the fall.
“I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t coming here making music.”
“It has a sort of therapeutic release to be able to discuss and share personal things that are difficult to bring out in a more public setting.”
Youth in all SKETCH programs frequently speak of the therapeutic value of the arts and how coming to SKETCH is an act of self-care through allowing them to express themselves, connect with like-minded youth, and see their artistic creations come to fruition.
“I didn’t know anybody in this group six weeks ago so I’ve learned a lot about different people’s approaches to learning, different requirements for patience and support, and how people can so easily work together in such an organic way. It has been really opening my eyes.”
Youth also regularly speak about how the environment that SKETCH fosters is one that is inclusive, welcoming, accepting and validating. Some programs are specifically designed for this purpose. In Chrysalis, trans-feminine youth came together weekly to explore self-expression, especially in writing and singing, in a supportive space. This program validates their individual identities and common experiences, supporting feelings of inclusion while also connecting them with other SKETCH programs.
In Wild Living–this session’s installation of the Enviro-Arts program–youth spent time discovering green spaces together exploring survival and wild crafting skills in urban forests like the Don Valley, High Park, and the Humber River. Youth learned about foraging, plant identification, understanding habitats, making fires, building shelters, meditation, and outdoor cooking (including bannock). The project fostered a sense of curiosity and joy about being in nature, and a recognition of how valuable the natural world is for our well-being. Many youth fed back that the activities made them feel healthier and happier, shifting their mood and their consciousness. This program was also a good connection for some of the more vulnerable and marginalized SKETCH youth, who all engaged very well in the exploratory activities.
“SKETCH has provided me with training and opportunities to develop my leadership capacities through the community-artist program. It has provided me with space to grow and develop as an artist and human being. My social skills are largely due to my involvement with SKETCH!”
In the Community Artist Leadership Training Program, the current cohort of six youth leaders continued their placements, received focused trainings and support (through Get Your Art Hustle On), ran their own project (Type/Cast) and culminated all this by finishing their portfolio of artwork in time for Rad Grad in mid-June. Through the last year, they have each strengthened their employment skills and developed their arts practice while exploring ways to live a sustainable, creative life. They each leave with an impressive arts portfolio – a strong body of work, business cards, professional art website, headshots, documented artwork, experience showing in multiple exhibitions and showcases, and knowledge of how to navigate the arts world – and a solid plan for the next steps they want to take in their career.
Once again, this quarter saw several youth-led program sessions: Screenprinting (by Rosa), Wild Living (by Spewky), Street Voices (by Joel), Chrysalis (by River), Type/Cast (by the CA team), Krafty Queers (by Afi), SewGood (by Huda) and Vocal Revolution (by Niko and Ramya). Each youth leader brought their previous learnings from the SKETCH youth leadership trainings and their arts expertise to coordinate exciting and engaging youth-led programming. They are often cited by their peers as providing both mentorship and motivation to pursue leadership opportunities. The Wild Living project, for example, was not only spearheaded by a long-time SKETCH youth leader, it also fostered several instances of youth-led facilitation in meditation, bannock cooking, fire-building, and animal tracking.
This quarter in Connect to Youth / Acting OUT, most workshops focused on performances that chronicle the experiences of racialized, queer, trans*, and system-involved young people, in workshops with Humber College students and workers connected with the Social Justice Tribunal. One of the benefits of being trained as a C2Y facilitator is that youth often develop much stronger self-advocacy skills, and several youth spoke this quarter about how they have used these skills in their day-to-day lives, resulting in increased wellbeing and resilience in challenging situations. They are now better able to seek the supports they need and feel strong in asking for what they want, in particular accessing justice when facing legal issues.
“The skills learned in the program have helped me to navigate challenges in daily life and make things flow more smoothly.”
Because a recent focus of many trainings has been an understanding of trans* rights and issues, both youth and workers/students leave with a more substantial vocabulary for understanding how to best support trans* youth.
“I gained support from SKETCH – the staff observed my leadership, identified me as a figurehead. It’s nice to be treated as important. SKETCH provided the social space that acknowledged my interpersonal skills.”
This quarter, CUE fostered career development in several creative industries. They launched the Story Reno Studio, a series of twelve workshops with 9 writers, followed by the opportunity to apply for a CUE Writer’s Bursary and mentorship from a senior literary artist. They also launched an artist residency, with a bursary, exhibition support, and consultation to launch a solo show. CUE’s music mentor supported CUE-funded musicians with rehearsals, support in grant-writing, creating press releases, assembling a collective mix-tape, and securing discounted studio space for CUE musicians with Sandbox Studios.
In Music, several young musicians have developed such skills that they are ready to record, perform, and learn at a whole new level: they are strong performers, and are ready to launch. Many are connecting with more advanced training and supports, such as Coalition Music and the Arts Lab. Two youth are incubating Voice Revolution – a vocal training series, which they hope to be able to offer across the city in different community settings.
The Music team would like to see developing youths’ engineering skills to the point that they can facilitate recording or engineering sessions. This would both allow them to formally ramp up their engineering skills, and also make the studio available for more hours to more youth. This kind of peer leadership is a long-term goal, and one the music team is working toward steadily.
This quarter’s Circus series fostered substantial skills and interest in creative entrepreneurship. Youth developed a cohesive circus performance, including hula hooping, gymnastics, poi, stilt-walking, and more. They practiced busking to make additional income, and one youth was asked to perform at a Ballet Creole event. Several youth expressed the desire to build this into a career, inspired by the idea of making extra income through circus. One youth started a small enterprise making juggling balls and circus costumes, a wonderful cross-media extension of their new-found circus enthusiasm.
In Turn Up Your Volume, a series focusing on the professionalism surrounding being a musician – from creating press kits, booking gigs, taking head shots, doing soundcheck, protecting copyright and registering original music – youth developed the skills they need to release and perform their music, and launch a career. This program continues to make a big difference for youth, who appreciate having the industry demystified, and having tangible, actionable steps and plans to move forward as professional artists. Youth expressed that having this toolkit and a mentor from the industry gave them more confidence and motivation to “put themselves out there” as professionals.
“Basically you have a lot of experience in being seen – going in front of people, performing. And you work at home your own projects that u can bring them here and share – get positive feedback – that’s really helpful.”
CUE’s ten Creative Enterprise grant recipients moved towards launching their arts enterprises in a variety of media (jewelry, fashion, theatre, printmaking/publishing). Each built significant capacity in the business side of the arts, and made important steps to generating sustainable income from their creative work. CUE has observed that the majority of participants currently engaged in its programs have been empowered through CUE’s support and have become motivated to focus on their careers by way of pursuing external funding opportunities, developing portfolios, and planning for future projects. As well they are demonstrating increased self-confidence, and developing accountability.
The theme of the Community Artist Training series this quarter was Get Your Art Hustle On!, focusing on developing all elements of a digital portfolio, including documenting artwork, artist headshots, writing an artist statement and bio, public speaking, and simple and low-budget options for an artist website. Each of the CAs left the series with an artist website and business cards, the basis for them to launch their career as professional artists and arts facilitators.
In the Market/Gallery program, youth artists connected with vending, exhibition, commission and other opportunities in the creative industries, while receiving guidance in portfolio development, mentorship in the business of art, and creative living. This program enables youth to show their work, affirming and valuing them as artists, and relieves some financial pressure, demonstrating that it is possible to live a sustainable creative life.
This quarter, the Market/Gallery program connected youth with visual art exhibitions (at the University of Toronto, MarchFifteen, ARIDO and the Fringe Festival), mural commissions (at the University of Toronto, FIFE House, TRAFFIK) and arts facilitation opportunities (with Koffler Gallery, Daniels Spectrum and Holt Renfrew), and also supported youth to exhibit at Rad Grad. In particular, the exhibition at the University of Toronto, in the Bissell Building, was a strong show, with a wide variety of SKETCH youth artists showing very strong work and having the opportunity to demonstrate their professionalism, making bios and didactics and presenting their work to the audience. In total this quarter, 34 youth participated, making a total of over $4,700.
Just Clay, SKETCH’s youth-led ceramics social enterprise, continued to host twice-weekly drop-in ceramics workshops for the public at Evergreen Brick Works, plus several one-off workshops on special days: a PA day session, Earth Day, Aboriginal Day, the Brewers Backyard Festival, and Local Food Week. The collective members continued to meet regularly to write grants, create proposals, monitor their budget and develop their business plan. Additionally, each member continues to develop their artistic practice in clay, creating sellable works (bowls and platters), learning new techniques to teach in their sessions, and seeking independent facilitation gigs.
The Culinary Arts program cancelled workshops this quarter, to focus on catering and exploring culinary social enterprise. For Rad Grad, the Culinary Arts team and 4 youth catered for the 125 attendees, concocting a playful fine dining-style picnic menu. For the Platform A show, the team brought on 6 youth to cater for 150 people, preparing chicken and waffles, savory and sweet fixings, vegan and gluten-free options. Their ambitious menu received rave reviews! In both instances, the team collaborated with youth who had been involved in previous Culinary Arts workshops or volunteering in the kitchen, to design inventive menus, coordinate all needs, and plan serving and presentation–a wonderful model of what a SKETCH catering service can be. The youth developed excellent work skills, professionalism in high-pressure environments, understanding of the rhythms of a kitchen, and the ability to collaborate well in the hectic but creative energy that emerges in a fast-paced professional kitchen. The youth became more confident and enthusiastic, increased their capacity, and several expressed interest in culinary careers. One of the youth volunteers has since applied to George Brown’s ACET program.
SKETCH participated in two major program events this session, Rad Grad and the Platform A show. Rad Grad was a celebration of the spring series of programs, a chance to showcase the skills built and art made in each of the spring’s more than twenty program offerings. Additionally, it was a grand celebration of the six youth in the Community Artist Leadership Training program, and their year-long artistic and community leadership development. More than 125 people attended – youth, donors, community partners and the general public – to celebrate.
The Platform A Show was an exhibition and performance event for the 55 youth engaged in the Platform A micro-grant and mentorship program. This massive exhibition and stage show gave a platform to youth–supported by SKETCH, CUE, Jumblie’s, Arts for Children and Youth and ArtStarts–to share their music, visual art and workshops with an audience of over 200.
The performance skills youth develop in Connect to Youth also benefit them in their performance arts, including one youth who has developed a vocal training workshop series that they lead with other youth, one youth who has performed at a Street Voices magazine launch, one who co-MC’ed at Rad Grad, and several who are active buskers and musicians.
Shared mentorship platform
This quarter, SKETCH worked with 23 youth in 10 youth-led initiatives on the Mentorship Platform. The youth-led initiatives this quarter included CUE, Just Clay, ODE, Street Voices, Krafty Queers, VOID Incubator, R.I.S.E., the WATAH school, LiftED by Purpose, and YAMH. Each of these engages collaboratives of youth in planning, outreaching for, leading, tracking and evaluating creative projects, making use of networks of supports throughout, leading creative programming both within SKETCH and in the broader community. The SKETCH directors mentored these youth leaders in project management, financial management, applying for grants and reporting to funders, program governance, policy and community engagement.
“SKETCH creates an environment where I don’t have to feel anxiety coming to my placement. People here are pretty supportive. Even though it’s an easy-going environment I can tell that the people who work here really care what they are doing. And I also enjoy hanging out with the artists here. It’s a sweet environment.”
SKETCH continued to benefit from the incredible contributions of many placements and volunteers in programs. Community volunteers this quarter included Lynn Hubbs and Becky Freeman in textiles; Sherisse Davidson, Margaret Brunn-Meyer and Rachel Tong in culinary arts; and Tyler Jackson in yoga. Fifteen youth also contributed by volunteering primarily in culinary arts, as well as for events such as Rad Grad. Placements this quarter included Rikki Chisvin in dance, E.McD and Emma Ross in Connect to Youth, Claire Whitehead and Alan Pawlowicz in music, Alicia Nunes in visual art, Khimar Morgan in textiles, Diana McNally and Eddie Woah in the CA program, Sophia Ilyniak and T Felbert in enviro-arts, and Pegah Gholamalizedeh in outreach.
SKETCH also partnered with the Neighbourhood Arts Network, AVNU and the Toronto Arts Foundation to offer another Courage Lab this quarter, on the theme of Artful Equity. This session brought in 38 people in the community arts and creative facilitation fields to explore how to bring anti-oppression principles into our work, and use the arts to foster equity and inclusion.
Throughout Q2 the main focus for the Marketing & Communications Team was to work with the Directors to finalize new SKETCH messaging emphasizing Impact and urgency. The secondary focus has been on leading communications in various initiatives for Revenue Generation, Social Enterprise and Program.
The Social Media Numbers (as of July 2nd, 2015)
Facebook likes: 3,709 (4% increase from Q1)
Twitter followers: 2,853 (11% increase from Q1)
Instagram followers: 464
Campaigns to promote and rally interest around RadGrad, the ‘A’ Show and their impact took place in Q2 including;
The team was charged with preparing a first-draft messaging to Directors after work was completed on the Impact Statement. One of the tasks completed was a full recording of youth stories that informed the impact messaging. There have been some delays with the progress since several communications tactics from January were put on hold. However, Q3 and Q4 will confirm the strategy including the recommendations from Traffik and we see the finalized version being produced and implemented. This messaging will be used throughout the organization including IG, Third-Party events, sponsorship campaigns and web communications.
SKETCH is working to ensure that www.sketch.ca will meet 75% of accessibility standards of WCAG Level 2 AA by September 8, 2015 and 100% by Dec 1, 2015. Staff was informed on new content-accessibility procedures, and assigned tasks to communications staff to implement changes to site in Q3.
A progress report will go to Directors in August and plans to implement widgets to monitor accessibility, present new guidelines to staff after September deadline.
We continue to support and cultivate relationships with 3-Party Fundraisers, and implement new strategy so Fundraising goal will surpass $35k in 2015. The current total for Q2 is $17k. There continues to be some co-coordination required for SKETCH participation with larger-yielding events including ARIDO and Osmington. In addition, AdWords campaign is in process to be launched in Q3 in order to direct traffic to all SKETCH revenue generation including 3-Party, IG and Social Enterprise.
One major third-party opportunity was lost due to a concern that we did not have a clear enough “urgency-of-message-to-audience” that would assist the group in raising the funds they were aiming for. New messaging to take this into account.
SKETCH is committed to creating a stronger, brighter fundraising page featuring major 3P ideas that can be download–to be launched September 8th.
There were several Resource Development and Social Enterprise communications initiatives in Q2 including;
Marketing and Communications are gearing to inform the public of SKETCH’s impact as a platform to increase youth health and well being, to opportunities in creative enterprise and to become culture makers.
We continue to compile, edit, organize and coordinate Monthly SKETCH E-Newsletter campaigns as a way of informing stakeholders, donors and fans of SKETCH’s impact;
The communications team managed and coordinated the social media for SKETCH programming with Program Administrator to inform SKETCH youth of upcoming program sessions and external community opportunities;
SKETCH used social media to engage followers weekly on topics of homelessness, housing first initiatives and food waste. As well, we spread awareness about SKETCH and partners with shared news about Toronto arts initiatives featuring our partners, CUE, Street Voices, and YSI. All new SM visitors were relayed to sketch.ca to find out more about our work.
For the annual campaign, we raised $40,198 in the second quarter of 2015, compared to $21,558 in 2014. However, in 2014, we hosted the large-scale April 10th fundraising event, which raised over $50,000 for the capital campaign. Since there was no major event this year, the RDA instead spent a significant amount of time writing grants during Q2. One major gift of $10,000 was received this quarter, in response to the spring direct mail campaign.
Admin and grants
Ongoing Donation Administration and Stewardship – the administrative assistant, who was doing all the donation administration, left SKETCH in April. SKETCH did not replace the position and therefore the Resource Development Associate has had to resume all the administration for donation and grant processing, thus focusing less on long-term strategic fundraising initiatives.
Grant Writing for the Q2 period included submissions to: Softchoice, McLean Foundation, J. Armand Bombardier Foundation, Canada Post Foundation, Ruth HIndmarsh Atkinson Award, Kiwanis Club of Toronto Foundation, Hellyer Foundation, and The Slaight Family Foundation.
The spring direct mail campaign was sent out at the end of May, featuring a letter from Community Artist and emerging musician, Oddane Taylor. A total $13,051 came in as a result, including a $10,000 from a major donor. Nine students from St. Joseph College came in to volunteer to put the packages together, which was a great help, and they are keen to volunteer again in the future.
SKETCH has continued to develop the newest area of work in Social Enterprise. For the past year now, the work has focused on the rental of the Lower Level studios to bring in revenue for SKETCH. SpaceShare has been building consistently and the demands are increasing with the space. There have been a few regular renters now and we have been learning the challenges and benefits of a shared space. A second SE is in the works beginning in Q2 and will progress over the next couple of quarters. This initiative is being branded as Taste@SKETCH.
SpaceShare has been bringing in a steady level of funds but we are also connecting with many different industry people including event planners, and small companies that are interested in a different kind of venue. SpaceShare has focused on Development work, Revenue Targets and Marketing & Communications strategies.
Revenue Targets were projected at $24,750 (Q1=$10,200 + Q2=$14,550). The actual total ended up being $20,210.50 making a loss of ($4,539.50). A new strategy for marketing the space has been in the planning and preparing for an Event Industry Open House held on July 8, 2015. The goal is to increase awareness and secure new event bookings for Fall 2015
This event will include a list of new partners including;
The SE Working Group has been providing extensive support towards the development of the SE Strategic Plan. We have been able to compile information and held a meeting with Mendicant Consultants. This meeting led SE to refocus its mission and vision to a clearer priority of building awareness over striving for revenue. While revenue is important, it seems that with the building of the awareness, the funds will come in a longer and more sustainable manner.
Taste@SKETCH is a new potential SE initiative. We have been developing a plan for the last couple of quarters, sorting out what impact it would have and whether it would be viable. There have been further discussions with John Walker, consultant in the building of the partnership with Chef John Higgins and George Brown College. The next steps are to develop a Working Group to go through the steps of creating a Feasibility Study, complete some Market Research and build a Business Canvas.
Lower Level Operating focused on build projects that would optimize spaces in the SKETCH Lower Level Studios. There was deep discussions on putting forth additions to the space in order to have the spaces be utilized at their maximize potential. Build projects such as and addition of curtains lining the Project Studio and the addition of gallery walls in the Media Hallway created a significant difference in how the spaces can be used and are being currently used now.
There was an opportunity to ready the Industrial Arts Studio with a long-term rental from the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. They wanted to rent the entire Industrial Arts Studio for two weeks. Upon providing us with an advance on their rental SKETCH was able to prepare the studio for them by Servicing Industrial Arts Equipment. With the help and generous discount of the Ferdinand Group (the only onsite industrial equipment servicer in Toronto) we were able to get 80% of the equipment safety checked and to working condition for public use.
It is our aim to use the Ferdinand Group as our main contractor to service all of our industrial-arts equipment. They have agreed to pop in approximately twice a year to make sure any of our problems are smoothed out without charge. If machinery needs to be fixed he will service it at a discounted rate.
During Q2, Operations was able to engage a young person through Eva’s Initiatives in Student Placement position. Jennifer helped with various administrative tasks as well as keeping our equipment and inventory lists up to date. Our main focus was to give her insight into the operations and managing of a creative organization on the facilities level.
Jennifer was particularly interested in “what it takes” to run a facility such as SKETCH with such large studio facilities. At the end of her placement she was able to take away with her new tactics in organizing, time management, the ability to distinguish priority and urgency, and personality management skills.
We had the great opportunity though funding from the Saleh Foundation and Building of Media Hallway Gallery to complete a capital build. Through this opportunity we pitched the completion of the gallery walls for the Media Hallway Gallery. Through this opportunity we were able to hire Gomer – a former participant of SKETCH that has gone on to create Wooden it Be Nice, a custom-carpentry business. Through this opportunity we worked together for two weeks to build five gallery standard walls with a framed plywood base and a drywall overlay.
The Admin Hub is going through an evaluation of its functionality. There are 45 people accessing the Hub at various times throughout the week. The Hub is used by several Collaborative groups as well in order to develop their programs and enterprises as well as mentorships and several workshops. There are several challenges with the set up of the Hub including noise levels for focused working and the lack of any private meeting space. If there are meetings to be held, it often means that they have to be arranged in another space. There is a growing desire to find a way to repurpose the space when resources are made available.
There are several changes ahead with regards to Human Resources. Management met with staff to review their roles and given the development of the Theory of Change, how they might see their roles changing. Management then took the information gathered from these meetings, to restructure the positions to best meet the outcomes for the organization. New job descriptions have been written to give clarity to each of the new positions. There will be a full organizational meeting to discuss the new structure and how we will work together in the framework of the TOC.