Newcomer Week 2023

Newcomer Week is an annual event that aims to welcome and celebrate newcomers in Toronto. It's an opportunity for us to come together as a community and show our support for those who are starting a new life in our city.

Photograph of a figure like sculpture created by Mariana Bolanos
Step into the vibrant world of artistic journeys and cultural diversity with our exciting collaboration in celebration of Newcomer Week.

We are delighted to partner with the Doris McCarthy Gallery to present a dynamic panel discussion. Join us as we shine a spotlight on the extraordinary talent and creativity of past Newcomer Arts Award recipients. This engaging event promises to be a captivating exploration of the intersection between art, migration, and the transformative power of cultural exchange. We will be  delving into the personal stories, artistic processes, and profound contributions of these exceptional artists. Immerse yourself in this unique opportunity to witness the incredible impact of newcomers in the arts community and discover the compelling narratives that emerge from their experiences.

Persisting Multiplicities Online Panel Discussion

Tuesday, June 13, 4 – 5 pm

Registration required:

Join us for a public discussion about the exhibition Persisting Multiplicities, currently on view in the Instructional Centre Vitrines at University of Toronto Scarborough. The exhibition features works by past recipients of the Newcomer Arts Award, presented by Toronto Arts Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network.

In this online conversation, Persisting Multiplicities curator Esmond Lee and artists Mariana Bolaños, Fei Ji, and Dana Prieto will share insights into their artistic practices and discuss the ways in which their works address migration, diasporic realities, and the complexities of the newcomer experience. This program is free and open to the public, all are welcome. It will be hosted on Zoom, with captions.




Newcomer Week, an annual event organized by Toronto Arts Foundation's Neighbourhood Arts Network along with the City of Toronto, ImagineNative, Doris McCarthy Gallery, Muse Arts, and Toronto Arts Council, aimed to welcome and celebrate newcomers in Toronto.

Throughout that week, various events and activities took place across the city, including cultural festivals, workshops, and networking events. These carefully curated experiences were designed to assist newcomers in finding their footing in their new homes, fostering connections within their communities, and building new relationships.

Whether you were a newcomer yourself or had been living in Toronto for years, there was something special for everyone during Newcomer Week. Together, we united as a community to demonstrate our unwavering support for those embarking on a fresh chapter in our beloved city. By participating in Newcomer Week, we had the opportunity to explore diverse cultures, forge new friendships, and revel in the astounding diversity that defines our incredible city.

Our line up includes:


VIRTUAL & IN-PERSON - Free Artist Portfolio Coaching. 30min one-on-one portfolio and artist statement supported by Mentor In Residence coach Mary Anne Garcia (Designer and Creative Director), session are open all week long. Register for your session today!

Do you want feedback on your artist portfolio or artist statement? Sign up for a 30 min. consultation with our Mentor in Residence, Mary Anne Garcia. Receive valuable tips to put together a portfolio and artist statement that best represent who you are as an artist! Sessions are available on a first come, first served basis.

Mary Anne (Mare) is a Canadian Filipinx product/furniture designer and creative director behind Space Queen Studio - a Toronto-based home goods studio where cute 'n kitschy meets pop culture but with a succulent green twist. Garcia’s creative practice is guided by her fascination with building, experimentation, and material exploration. She is a recipient of COFO design’s inaugural design challenge, and an advocate of slow and ethical design. Her work looks to transform ordinary interactions through playfulness and movement.


VIRTUAL | Hear Me Out: Curated Playlist. Relaxed audible experiences featuring Indigenous and Newcomer Arts Award recipients, co-curated playlist by Catherine Tammaro and Neighbourhood Arts Network.  SPOTIFY 


IN-PERSON | Persisting Multiplicities, curated by Esmond Lee, brings together artists who negotiate complex social, cultural, and political identities. Featuring: Mariana Bolanos, Fei Ji, and Dana Prieto

Persisting Multiplicities brings together artists who negotiate complex social, cultural, and political identities. Through their work, Mariana Bolanos, Fei Ji, and Dana Prieto push back against the binary relationships – inside and outside, domestic and foreign, belonging and unbelonging – that seem to define the particular social-political constructs around migration. How and when is someone no longer a newcomer? Can integration be measured? The artists’ processes and outcomes reveal and resist the hidden and ongoing forces imposed by colonialist, capitalist, and nationalist systems.

Persisting Multiplicities is curated by Esmond Lee, and presented in the Instructional Centre Vitrines, University of Toronto Scarborough by the Doris McCarthy Gallery in partnership with Neighbourhood Arts Network. The exhibition runs May 1 – August 26, 2023.

Instructional Centre Vitrines, University of Toronto Scarborough, 1095 Military Trail.


IN-PERSON | Newcomer Arts Award Reception.

Celebrating the award recipients of the Newcomer Arts Award, which is designed to support the future potential of newcomer artists working. Limited spots avaliable for NAN members. Claim your spot today!


Featuring performances by past award recipients:

  • Murshed Aldhahri is a Toronto-based singer who is deeply invested in the beauty of Classical Arabic music and the soulfulness of Sufi music
  • Irina Lerman, ballet choreographer, and dancer.

The reception will start at 5:30pm and location will be disclosed after registration. Food and refreshments will be provided.

The evening will celebrate six incredible Newcomer Artists:

  • Chico Togni, Sculpture artist from n Brazil. His works have been exhibited internationally, most recently at Kunsthaus Dresden and Museum der Bildenden Kunst Leipzig.
  • Faisal Karadsheh is a Jordanian-Palestinian multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. Karadsheh’s body of work has been presented in the form of paintings, sound, performance, printmaking, installations, video, XR and exhibitions in Jordan, Lebanon and Canada.
  • Halime Akturk is a Kurdish documentary filmmaker, producer, co-founder of Cûdî Giuliano Films, and award winning former journalist from Turkey.
  • Lana Yuan, Toronto based artist. She has exhibited at the Art Museum at U of T, YYZ Artists' Outlet, Stackt Market Gallery Box, Center 3 Gallery, Ignite Gallery and Red Head Gallery.
  • Leila Refahi is an artist, researcher, and educator, based in Toronto, Canada. She uses painting, installation, and digital media to create participatory and social engagement art experiences.
  • Vladimir Kanic is a multidisciplinary artist and environmental activist whose practice explores the creation of living art while providing hope and solution for global climate change.


IN-PERSON | Newcomer Day at the City of Toronto.

All Torontonians are invited to join the City of Toronto’s Newcomer Office in welcoming newcomers in Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square with activities and entertainment.

Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Location: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W.

Neighbourhood Arts Network is pleased to announce, Mentor In Residence Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone will be performing at the Main Stage.

Stop by our booth and learn more about the arts sector, grants and mentorship. We will also be joined by Toronto Arts Council and our friends at Work In Culture.

Event Highlights

Entertaining performances, Colouring for children, Free Tim Hortons beverages, Food trucks, Interactive activities, Information fair, Newcomer marketplace, Newcomer food fair, Prizes and giveaways


Registration for your free ticket here

VIRTUAL | Film Tour by ImagineNATIVE. Tune in for free and check out a features a dynamic selection of six short films created by Indigenous filmmakers, all of which were presented at the 2022 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. This short film program reflects on the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next and honouring where you and your ancestors have come from.

This event is brought to you in partnership with imagineNATIVE and Toronto Art Foundation. The 2023 imagineNATIVE Tour brings Indigenous-made film and video works, as well as community engagement activities to communities across Turtle Island (Canada).

Artists: Ritchie Hemphill (‘Nakwaxda’xw), Siku Allooloo (Inuit/Taíno), Roxann Karonhiarokwas Whitebean (Kanienkeha'ka), Sarah Houle-Lowry (Métis), Barry Bilinsky (Métis/Cree), Eric Janvier (Dene) Canada | 2021-2022 | 79 min English, Kwa'kwala, Hiwatahia, Mohawk | Documentary, Animation, Dramatic

Content Warnings: Historical Trauma Intended Audience: All Ages

Short Film Overview:

Məca : A stop motion representation of the late Elder Ida Smith telling her grandson the legend of the Mink. Director: Ritchie Hemphill (‘Nakwaxda’xw) Canada | 2021 | Dramatic Short, 8 min

About the director: Ritchie Hemphill grew up on Tsulquate reserve and was raised by his community, the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw people. Ritchie’s goal is to create art that honours his identity as a modern Indigenous individual.

Spirit Emulsion: An Indigenous woman’s connection to the spirit world activates Taíno culture and presence, revealing a realm unseen. Super 8 film, developed with plant medicines, connects the earth to the cosmos as flowers portray family love and ancestral sovereignty extending into the future. Director/Writer/Producer: Siku Allooloo (Inuit/Taíno) | Documentary Short, 7mins

About the director: Siku Allooloo is an award-winning filmmaker and an interdisciplinary artist, writer, decolonial advocate, and community builder. She comes from Denendeh (Northwest Territories), by way of Haiti and Mittimatalik, Nunavut.

Rose: The story of a sixteen-year-old, pregnant Indigenous girl pulled from her community and placed in a church to be overseen in her last weeks of pregnancy. When she delivers her child, it will be taken from her and put into a Canadian home by decree of an Indian Agent. Director/Writer: Roxann Karonhiarokwas Whitebean (Kanienkeha'ka) | Dramatic Short, 25min

About the director: Roxann Whitebean is a formidable media artist who hails from the Mohawk Territories of Kahnawà:ke and Akwesasne. She made her directorial debut in 2014 and is represented by Vanguarde Artists Management LTD.

This Is How I Know You: A prayer for our missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls… and a prayer for Truth and Reconciliation. Director/Producer: Sarah Houle-Lowry (Métis) | Music Video, 5mins

About the Director: Sarah Houle-Lowry is a Métis multidisciplinary artist and performer originally from the Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement in Northern Alberta and currently based in Mohkinstsis (Calgary), Alberta.

Heartbeat of a Nation: In the Northern Alberta community of Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation, a father teaches his son how to create a caribou drum. Director/Writer: Eric Janvier (Dene) | Documentary, 20mins

About the Director: Eric Janvier is a multi-hyphenate filmmaker who has found space in both the narrative and documentary fields. He trained at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, California.

Kikino Kids: From the imagination of Kikino youth in Kikino Métis Settlement follows the story of rebellious friends, star-crossed lovers, and brave explorers coming together to discover how connected they truly are Director/Writer: Barry Bilinsky (Métis/Cree) | Dramatic Short, 14mins

About the Director: Barry Bilinksy is a professional theatre creator of Cree, Métis, and Ukrainian heritage. Based in Montréal, he has worked across Canada on projects centred primarily around the proliferation of Indigenous arts, artists, and collaborations.

Stay tune. Registration today!


IN-PERSON | Happening Multicultural Festival

An afternoon and evening full of programming for the entire community. Large-format traditional games, free workshops facilitated by artists, music, and dance performances are just a taste of what this day will bring.

You’ll also be able to enjoy offerings by independent craft vendors on site.

2:30PM – 5:00PM: Workshops
6:30PM – 11:30PM: Music Night

Large-scale games all day long!

In-person at MUSE Arts Creative Lab, 1369B St Clair Ave W

















A week of in-person and online activations showcasing films, music, and discussions by newcomer artists, Newcomer Week will showcase and honour the vibrancy that newcomer artists bring to Toronto’s cultural landscape.

Neighbourhood Arts Network will convene organisations including MUSE Arts, STEPS Public Art, North York Arts, Artworxto, imagineNATIVE, and recipients of our Newcomer Artist Award to present dynamic performances, talks and activations.




Exhibition set indoors, image represents vibrant greenery in the forefront in the the background bright images of buffalos in blue and pink on bright green background
 Join us at the Artworxto- Cloverdale Mall Hub for an exhibition tour and artist talk of HOME(LAND). HOME(LAND): Terra Firma is a series of three multimedia exhibitions examining how concepts of land intersect and dialogue with the fluid, and shifting characteristics of identity, belonging, and home across and between races, regions, cultures, and nations with connections to the four elemental energies from which all of life is created, water, earth, fire and air. Terra Firma is open to the public until May 29, 2022 

Time: 5:30-6:30 @ Cloverdale Mall

Directions: Head to the North East entrance at Cloverdale Mall on the East Mall side. The entrance is close to the Rexall. Inside, Cloverdale Common, is located beside Service Ontario.

Refreshments and ASL interpretation provided.

About the curator: 

Claudia Arana is a Latinx Independent Curator and Cultural Connector who has installed her practice at the intersection of artistic platforms which promote diversity and inclusion of varied cultural perspectives. Drawing from a mestizo background, Claudia’s curatorial work centers on in-between, and mixed cultures that develop along physical, political and social borders. She studied Art Theory and Critical Thinking at the School of Visual Arts, and Advanced Critique at the International Centre of Photography, both in New York. Currently, she is the Operations Manager at Sur Gallery, Toronto’s first gallery space dedicated to promoting contemporary Latin American artistic practices and the ArtworxTO Cultural West Hub Curator for the 2021-22 Toronto’s Year of Public Art. 

Learn more about the exhibition and participating artists here.

RSVP TODAY | Click here


In the forefront image of a dancer with arms stretched out, the backdrop is of hold city hall
All Torontonians are invited to join the City of Toronto’s Newcomer Office in welcoming newcomers in Toronto with activities and entertainment at this showcase of Toronto’s diverse communities!

Neighbourhood Arts Network is pleased to be a co-curator of the Main Stage Performances. Join us in person at 12:30 pm to see talented musician and past Newcomer Artist Award* Recipient Borelson perform with special guests.

Following the performances, 2022 recipients of our Newcomer Arts Award will be announced and honoured on stage! An intimate invite-only reception for finalists and community partners will follow.

Event Highlights

  • Entertaining performances
  • Colouring for children
  • Free Tim Hortons beverages
  • Food trucks
  • Interactive activities
  • Information fair
  • Newcomer marketplace
  • Newcomer food fair
  • Prizes and giveaways
  • “Welcome Gesture”

About the artists: 

Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W.

*Our awards are presented to artists, cultural leaders and organizations in recognition of artistic excellence, cultural leadership and contribution to the arts. The Newcomer Arts Award is a micro-award program for newcomer (immigrant and refugee) artists that offers $2,500 to support each recipient’s artistic practice.


Photograph of Wilson station entrance. Main doors open. Image on the building is hows colourful triangles surrounding the head of a bird, with prominent yellow eyes.
Created by internationally-known artist, Shalak Attack and her mentees Edan Maxam and Kseniya Tsoy, Daily Migration is a community-engaged public art project sharing stories of movement across urban spaces and nature, human relationships to the animal world, and the ties that connect us.

Tune in via Spotify from anywhere, or QR code while visiting the mural in person, to hear the artists speak about the theme and project. A transcript is available on our website.

Learn about Daily Migration Station here.



Bold orange letters spelling out HAPPENING. In the background images of musical instruments and multi-colour leaves
 Networking for Artists and Arts organizations, presented by HAPPENING Multicultural Festival.

HAPPENING was created by community artists, giving center-stage to the talent and skills of immigrant, newcomer, and refugee artists.

Join us on May 26 from 2:30-5:50 at Earlscourt Park for an Arts Networking Event. This event provides an opportunity for artists to
meet the vast array of organizations offering crucial programming.

Come out an enjoy the sun and meet some fellow artists!


Creative Lab Opening by Muse Arts

Time: 6:00pm @ 1369B St. Clair Ave West

Creative Lab Opening in Muse’s new community arts space and the first day of Happpening! Multicultural festival, this celebratory gathering will provide access to one of Toronto’s newest community arts spaces that is dedicated to celebrating immigrant, newcomer, and refugee talent whose work spans contemporary music, dance, visual arts, community-engaged arts, storytelling, spoken word, and poetry. 

HAPPENING Multicultural Festival is the first and only Toronto festival made by community artists, giving centre-stage to the talents and skills of immigrant, newcomer, and refugee artists. The festival provides a dynamic platform for artists and performers to share their artistic visions with the world.

Expect networking, conversation, inspiration and good times!

The venue is wheelchair accessible. 

RSVP today! Click here

For more information on full lineup for Happening Festival, please visit: