Community Arts Award
Celebrating the vital contributions that artists and organizations make in Toronto’s communities.
"This award gave me the support and recognition I needed at that crucial moment moving between emerging and mid-career. The support was invaluable and allowed me to create new and exciting work around diversity in the city!" – Syrus Marcus Ware, 2017 Community Arts Award recipient
Deadline: Accepting nominations from September 13 - November 27, 2023 (for an award presentation in 2024)
About: The Toronto Arts Foundation Community Arts Award is a $10,000 cash prize, with finalists receiving $1,000 each. The award celebrates an individual artist or arts organization or collective that has made a significant contribution in Toronto by working with, in and for communities, while increasing access to arts and culture. Established in 2013 as the Diversity Award, it was renamed the Community Arts Award in 2018. The Community Arts Award is generously sponsored by MOD Developments Inc. Award eligibility rotates from individuals to organizations or collectives in alternating prize years. In 2024, the award will be presented to an individual. The Community Arts Award is presented every year at the Mayor’s Arts Lunch.
To be eligible for the award, all nominees must demonstrate a commitment and/or focus on community-engaged arts and access to arts and culture in Toronto. The nominee may not be awarded more than one Toronto Arts Foundation award within any given year.
In addition, the nominee (for individuals) must:
Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Be a Toronto-based professional artist
- Demonstrate a commitment to or focus on community-engaged arts
- May only receive the award once (this does not preclude a recipient from being considered for a different Toronto Arts Foundation award in the future)
- Not be serving as board or committee members of the Toronto Arts Foundation or Toronto Arts Council
- Nominees are welcome to nominate themselves
In addition, the nominee:
- Must be a Toronto-based organization/collective that has been in operation for one year or more
- Must have demonstrated a commitment to or focus on community-engaged arts
- Are only eligible to receive this award once
- With the exception of the Newcomer Artist Award, no person or organization may be selected for more than one Toronto Arts Foundation award within any given year and no person or organization may receive the same Toronto Arts Foundation award twice. This does not preclude a recipient from being considered for a different Toronto Arts Foundation award in the future.
For more information about the award, including how to apply, visit Toronto Arts Foundation’s website https://torontoartsfoundation.org/initiatives/awards/community-arts-award
Contact Info: For questions, please contact Hasanika Mediwake at hasanika[at]torontoarts[dot]org
Collette 'Miss Coco' Murray, 2019 recipient
Community Arts Award
Also known as 'Miss Coco,' Collette is a dance performer, instructor, mentor, and cultural arts programmer. She holds a Sociology BA from University of Toronto, an Honours BA in Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity from York University, and a certificate in Anti-Racist Research and Practice. Her performance background includes traditional West African drum/dance and Caribbean folk dance. Engaged in the Caribbean and African
arts for over 17 years, she was the 2013 recipient of the Canadian Dance Assembly’s I Love Community award and named a 2014 Role Model by the Black Canadian Awards. 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.
UrbanArts, 2018 Recipient
Community Arts Award
UrbanArts is a progressive not-for-profit local arts service organization (LASO) linking the needs of those who create/make art, those who engage the artist as an essential element of their own development, and those who support UrbanArts because it adds value (sense of identity, lifestyle, prosperity) to the neighbourhood. UrbanArts is committed to the goal of building inclusive, engaged communities by enriching people’s lives through the arts, culture and heritage, with programs, services and resources delivered within the former City of York boundaries, with a focus on York South-Weston.
Syrus Marcus Ware, 2017 Recipient
Community Arts Award (formerly the TD Diversity Arts Award)
Syrus is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including in a solo show at Grunt Gallery, Vancouver (2068: Touch Change) and in group shows at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University, the Art Gallery of Windsor and as part of the curated content at Nuit Blanche 2017 (The Stolen People; Won’t Back Down). His performance works have been part of festivals across Canada, including at Cripping The Stage (Harbourfront Centre, 2016, 2019), Complex Social Change (University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, 2015) and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres (University of Winnipeg, 2015). He is part of the PDA (Performance Disability Art) Collective and co-programmed Crip Your World: An Intergalactic Queer/POC Sick and Disabled Extravaganza as part of Mayworks 2014. Syrus' recent curatorial projects include That’s So Gay (Gladstone Hotel, 2016-2019), Re:Purpose (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2014) and The Church Street Mural Project (Church-Wellesley Village, 2013). Syrus is also co-curator of The Cycle, a two-year disability arts performance initiative of the National Arts Centre. Syrus is a core team member of Black Lives MatterToronto and a co-curator of Blackness Yes!/Blockorama. Syrus has won several awards, including the TD Diversity Award in 2017. Syrus was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW (2005) and was awarded the Steinert and Ferreiro Award (2012). Syrus is a PhD candidate at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies.