COMMUNITY+Connects with Workman Arts

Thanks to a $1 million investment over four years from the Slaight Family Foundation, Workman Arts is expanding its art training programs throughout the GTA by partnering with Scarborough Arts, Urban Arts, North York Arts, East End Arts, Arts Etobicoke and Lakeshore Arts. The expanded program tackles the prevalence of social isolation in individuals with mental health issues and the lack of opportunities to build lasting social connections through meaningful engagement outside of the mainstream mental health system. Workman Arts’ art training programs are unique in the mental health sector because they do not treat the art class as secondary to the mental health benefits. High-quality art classes across all disciplines are facilitated by instructors with lived experience of mental health and/or addiction issues.

About COMMUNITY+Connects: Online

COMMUNITY+Connects: Online is Scarborough Arts yearly creative and professional development workshop series that aims to provide audiences of all ages and skill levels with free access to arts-based instructions from renowned Scarborough and GTA-based creative professionals.

Each year, Scarborough Arts offers a range of creative workshops that are free to the public and offer comprehensive skill building for audiences of all ages. Our COMMUNITY+Connects programs are offered as Spring Sessions (March-May), Summer Sessions (June-August), Fall Sessions (September-November), and Winter Sessions (December-February).

Have questions?
Jules Vodarek Hunter
Art Training Program Manager
416-583-4339 Ext. 8


Hoodman2Manhood – In Person

Hoodman2Manhood is an in-person course happening with Workman Arts and Scarborough Arts part of COMMUNITY+Connects Programming. Registration will be open until September 1, at which point accepted registrants will be contacted. Please note there is a limit on participants. 

Dates: Thursdays, September 8, 15, 22, 29, & October 6

Time: 4-7PM

Location: In-Person in Scarborough (Exact location TBD)

Who is this course for: Residents of Scarborough;. who are men of colour 16+; All indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island welcome. *Group limit of 5 people

Instructor: Tray

Referred to as Tray, is a multifaceted poetic artist who constantly explores new versions of himself. He is rooted in his daily practices of meditation, Qigong, and nature exposure to help create a harmonious environment around him. He craves experiences where he can travel, learn more about the culture and people of the land he’s occupying and connecting back to his African roots. Ultimately, he wants to create those experiences with everyone he interacts with, a sense of liberation, pride, and self-knowledge.

@poettray_ / @hoodman2manhood

Class Description:

Hoodman – Manhood is an organization dedicated to positively reconditioning the mindset of young Black men. We provide an excursion based curriculum rooted in self-reflection and critical inquiry to help Black men develop new perspectives on self-worth, identity, personal development and spirituality. Our unique program gives Black men the opportunity to build camaraderie in a peaceful and harmonious environment; leaving the session revitalized..

Deconstructing Through Dance

Deconstructing Through Dance is an in-person course happening with Workman Arts and Scarborough Arts Arts part of COMMUNITY+Connects Programming. Registration will be open until October 5, at which point accepted registrants will be contacted. Please note there is a limit on participants. 

Dates: Saturday & Sunday, October 8 & 9 and October 15 &16

Time: 4 – 6pm EST

Location: In-Person — Beaches Dance & Music Studio (1 Hannaford St., Scarborough)

Who is this course for: Residents of Scarborough;Youth, young adults and adults seeking to improve their health, fitness and dance literacy. This course is open to all genders, non-conforming, BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ individuals. All indigenous people from Turtle Island welcome.

Instructor: Jillian Rahim

Jillian Rahim (B.A., B.Ed) is a graduate of York University and secondary school teacher. She teaches and performs a variety of Indo-Caribbean diasporic dance styles including: Bollywood, Semi Classical, Chutney, Soca and Dancehall. Jillian has performed at the Calgary Stampede (2017), The CNE (2018), Raptors Vaisakhi Celebration (2017), HSDC’s AfroFest, ChutneyFest, and more! Music Video credits include: Deep Jandu, Mr. Vegas, Gangis Khan, Simar, A.R. Rahman, Yvette Lorraine, and more. In addition to her dance experience, Jillian has additionally integrated educational dance opportunities in Scarborough high schools including BSA Dance Team, Young Women on the Move and Woburn’s Dance Festival Day. She mentors with Guyana Community House and the Caribbean Network to continue making social change. Jillian continues to given back to her community in the best way she knows how through movement, self- reflection, critical thinking and culturally responsive practices.

@jilli_nr @indtoronto

Class Description:

This course explores the dimensions of Indian Bollywood Dance through one (1) choreographed piece. Each class, participants will learn about the context of the song, elements of dance and will be encouraged to think critically about the impact of ideologies perpetuated by Bollywood culture. 80% of this course is movement based, including warmup, cardio, choreography and performance skills. 20% of this course will include critical discussions around including cultural diversity and inclusion, deconstruction of gender roles, and the power of performance.

Reclaim: DIY Pulp Painting – Online

Reclaim: DIY Pulp Painting an online course happening with Workman Arts and Scarborough Arts Arts part of COMMUNITY+Connects Programming. Registration will be open until Friday, November 4th, 2022, at which point accepted registrants will be contacted. Please note there is a limit on participants. 

Dates: Fridays, November 11th – December 16th

Time: 6:00 – 8:00pm EST

Location: Online

Who is this course for: Residents of Scarborough who are; Black, Indigenous or Person of Colour. All indigenous people from Turtle Island welcome.

Instructor: Maneesa Veeravel

Interdisciplinary artist and educator with over a decade of experience in arts creation, facilitation and anti-oppressive work. Maneesa is a mad, queer, Tamil, gender fluid, chronically ill survivor settled on the stolen, tradition and ancestral lands of the Wendake-Nionwentsïo, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinabewaki territories. The process of creating is their approach to accessing grounding and alignment. Their artwork reflects intergenerational wits, wounds and wisdoms as it pertains to land, body and the notion of home.

Class Description:

This program is rooted in reclaiming our connection to our bodies, lands and/or materials. Over the course of six workshops, you will learn how to make paper pulp, work with natural and artificial dyes, as well as different approaches to sculpting and moulding. Each workshop will include wellness check-ins, prompts, resources and check-outs. Classes will be in English, however, I am also able to facilitate in Tamil if there is a need.

This course is for anyone interested in creating art from household materials as a form of introspection, expression and reprocessing. No skill level or previous experience is required. Everyone is welcome.

What is your relationship to the land?- Hybrid

What is your relationship to the land? is a hybrid course happening with Workman Arts and Scarborough Arts part of COMMUNITY+Connects Programming. Registration will be open until spots are filled. 

Dates: Saturdays — October 15 – November 19, 2022

Time: 1:00 – 3:00pm EST

Location: Hybrid
Online (Zoom): October 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12
In-Person (In Scarborough, TBC): November 19

Who is this course for: Open to all, but will prioritize BIPOC youth (ages 16-30) who are Residents of Scarborough. All indigenous people from Turtle Island welcome.

Instructor: Ari Para

Ari is a second generation Sri-Lankan-Canadian, Hindu, non-binary, queer artivist based in Scarborough, Ontario. They are an ESL teacher, theatre artist and a writer with a passion for reading, learning and unlearning.

Ari completed an undergraduate degree in Business Communications at Brock University in St. Catharines, while also completing minors in Women and Gender Studies and the Dramatic Arts. During their time in St. Catharines, Ari got involved with social justice organizations such as the Brock Student Justice Centre, OPIRG-Brock as well as The Brock Faith and Life Centre. Ari is currently completing a certificate in English Literature and Popular Culture at Toronto Metropolitan University and their Masters of Education part-time at York University. Ari has co-created a theatre show archiving their queer faith journey called That Power, a play focusing on queer interfaith dialogue that was highlighted in In The Soil Arts Festival 2020. They are currently working on adapting That Power as new life experiences impact their queer faith journey.

Ari currently works at the Department of Imaginary Affairs (DIA) as a Storytelling Caretaker. They started working with DIA as a social researcher where they engaged in conversations with BIPOC community members about their experiences in public parks amidst the pandemic, hosted a virtual NaNoWriMo parks and lands based writing program and facilitated a lands based zine creation and storytelling program called re:parks. They have recently been approved for an ArtReach grant to work on a storytelling and zine creation program for BIPOC youth called DREAMS in the Toronto area in the fall of 2022 with their colleagues as part of DIA’s programming.

Ari has recently published a collection of poems called Dear Body about overcoming challenges in their life without sacrificing who they are.

Class Description:
This is a parks and lands based creative writing course for new and seasoned writers that will allow you to further your creative writing practice through various writing prompts and writing exercises. This class will follow the NaNoWriMo writing model, where we will aim to finish writing a book in under a month! This course will be partly co-designed by the participants and the instructor in order to make it accessible and useful for all the participants. What you can expect in this course are 6 weekly sessions, each about 1.5-2 hours long, starting a week before November starts and ending the first week of December. We will aim to do this course in a hybrid manner if possible, but as a default, this course will be online through zoom for most sessions.

In this course we will practise writing poetry, life writing, letter writing and prose to build on your knowledge of various creative writing skills. At the end of the course, we will create a collective zine/book filled with all of our writings and share that with our communities. If folx feel comfortable, we will also do a spoken word / storytelling showcase event in a safe and comfortable location for all.