About ArtWorksTO

Program History

ArtWorksTO – Workforce Development for Young Creatives

Canada has a burgeoning creative sector; in 2010 it represented three percent of Canada’s GDP and 3.7 percent of the national workforce (Canadian Arts Coalition, 2019). However, young people with creative skills face barriers and are under and unemployed in this sector. Young people have developed skills, talent, and interest in the creative industries through engagement in community-based arts programs and self-directed learning. ArtworksTO will equip youth industry networks, advance skills, provide access to education, and professional work experience opportunities to support access to meaningful employment in creative industries.                


The City of Toronto, in partnership with Toronto Arts Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network, developed and implemented the ArtWorksTO Project between 2015 and 2020 as part the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy in 2014, Action 1D: "The City of Toronto will invest in youth artists and arts groups to develop youth sensitive and appropriate communication materials (posters, videos, songs, stories, etc.) that will promote key city programs that serve youth needs (at all levels of vulnerability) ...." 


External consultants reviewed and made recommendations for formalizing and expanding the ArtWorksTO program. A preliminary finding of the report conveyed that ArtWorksTO provides meaningful work experience for youth, connects clients to a difficult-to-access talent pool, connects youth to services, and gives youth a voice in contributing to or creating City communications materials (e.g. brochures, videos, flyers, etc.).      


Toronto Arts Foundation was awarded $1,035,470 in funding from Future Skills Centre to deliver the ArtWorksTO project over two years in partnership with the City of Toronto, the Remix Project, and the Ontario College of Art and Design University.

The expanded ArtWorksTO model is a workforce development program designed to enhance access to employment and entrepreneurship in the media arts and creative industries for young artists who are Indigenous, Black and People of Colour (IBPOC) and/or 2SLGBTQ+. 

ArtWorksTO offers its participants:

  • A $4,000 paid contract to complete a media arts project

  • Industry advice and connections with media arts professionals, coordinated by The Remix Project

  • Certificate in Art and Design Professional Skills from OCAD U School of Continuing Studies (only for Next Stream applicants, see FAQ)

  • Additional professional development opportunities

  • Employment and wellness support through The City’s Toronto Youth Partnerships and Employment (TYPE) program

  • Alumni Pathways (in development)



Toronto Arts Foundation is a registered charity 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 torontoartsfoundation.org.  

Neighbourhood Arts Network is a Toronto-wide network of more than 2,400 members, including artists, arts organizations, cultural workers, and community agencies offering accessible arts programming, awards, and partnership opportunities. TAF/NAN is responsible for the overall coordination and administration of the project including financial management, outreach, participant support, managing internships, communications, data collection, report writing, and industry engagement.

City of Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture, and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents, and businesses. For more information visit toronto.ca

OCAD University is Canada’s oldest and largest university for art and design. Founded in 1876, the university is dedicated to art, design and digital media education, practice and research, and knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. ocadu.ca

The Remix Project is a multidisciplinary arts training organization, devoted to strengthening the creative community by supporting the next generation of industry leaders. Focused on each student’s personal and professional development, the charity was created to help level the playing field for talented youth who face barriers in pursuing careers in arts & entertainment. For more information, www.theremixproject.com


 OCAD U offers and delivers customized skills education programming and provides advisory support on the program model and implementation. 

 The Remix Project coordinates industry networking and professional development activities through “master classes” with industry professionals and one-on-one industry advisor, matches of ArtWorksTO participants and Remix alumni.

 TAF/NAN responsible for case management with participants and the overall coordination and administration of the project including contract management, outreach, communications, data collection, report writing and industry engagement. 

 City of Toronto supported project management, including: refining priorities, goals and deliverables; facilitation of continuous improvement through monitoring and evaluation; risk mitigation framework implementation, and establishing workplans and milestones and Financial contributions to the program. In-kind contributions, to provide employment-focused support through the Toronto Youth Partnerships & Employment Program (TYPE)




ArtWorksTO is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre. Le projet Bridging the Gap est financĂ© par le Centre des CompĂ©tences futures du gouvernement du Canada.