Art Starts Here...


We offer community arts programming in six Toronto neighbourhoods for all ages. Our programs bring together artists and community members to reflect the identities and aspirations of each community.

Special Projects

We offer Special Projects such as arts initiatives, events, and workshops that occur city-wide. These projects encourage connection and collaboration among artists and those interested in the arts.


We foster emerging, youth and/or newcomer artists to help them further their own practices and advance their artistic careers. Our mentorship hub connects them with employment opportunities, grants, and more.

Support Us

You can help us continue to build vibrant communities through arts initiatives. There are many ways you can show your support: make a donation, give a gift in kind, or fundraise by running your own event or campaign.  

Art Starts Now...

4 months ago

Art Starts
🎉 Join us on Sunday, August 13 for our second installment of Animating Jamaica with an afternoon of live painting. Artists will capture in real-time the essence and diversity of Little Jamaica through live painting and draw inspiration from the Caribbean Farmer's Market on-site to install the spirit of Caribbean culture in their work. Get ready to be wowed by the works of our painters: 🎨 Aichoucha Haidara “My name is Aichoucha and I am a multidisciplinary artist from Timbuktu Mali. I have taken part in art shows in Hamilton, worked on art projects such as murals and have been working on developing my business and public art projects. Art is the medium through which I engage with my cultural heritage. For as long as I can remember, creating has been a fundamental aspect of my life. Since graduating from OCAD University's Material Art & Design program, this connection has only further deepened, enhancing my appreciation for art and design and my capability to bring light to any topic I choose, although I focus mostly on all Black everything!” 🎨 Shantel Miller “Inspired by her immediate surroundings, Shantel Miller is a Jamaican-Canadian visual artist whose interdisciplinary practice incorporates Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking to represent lived and imagined experiences that situate the body in moments of vulnerability and introspection. As part of her creative process, she uses body language symbolically to suggest relationships of tension and intimacy, often depicting interior spaces with isolated moments of realism, alternating perspectives, and high-contrast color relationships. Shantel currently lives and works in Markham, ON.”The action goes from 1-3 pm. We hope to see you there! ... See MoreSee Less
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5 months ago

Art Starts
Immerse yourself in the magic of our summer series: Animating Little Jamaica by joining us this Sunday, July 16th, 1 pm, at the Afro-Caribbean Farmer's Market Afro-Caribbean Farmers Market for a soulful afternoon of spoken word poetry. To kick off this series we will have a carefully curated lineup of four remarkable spoken word artists, including Testament (IG: @testamentpeace) who will also emcee the event. Stick around after for an open mic - we are inviting all poets to come and share their stories! In the meantime, meet our line up:Need Some Koi (IG: @needsomekoi) - Shakkoi also known as Need Some Koi is a multi talented creative, excelling in spoken word performance & facilitation. Her ability to transcend experiences of power and pain through spoken word poetry has made her a two time poetry book author and advocate for self expression. Shakkoi's unique, raw, and inviting presence encourages many to "Release their Doubts & Step Out!". With plenty of experiences to share, there is no doubt that everyone needs some Koi in their lives!Martin Gomes (IG: @martinpgomes) - Martin Gomes (he/they) a.k.a. Smooth is a poet, musician, and artist mentor born & based in downtown Toronto. Relatively new to the arts scene, Martin has already made a name for himself as an artist mentor working with organizations like JAYU, Unity Charity, Lakeshore Arts, and VIBE Arts teaching spoken word poetry and beatboxing. Musically, Martin's been around the world with various choirs: singing all over Canada, the United States, and even at the Vatican for Pope Francis. With his band 'JuiceBox', he's performed for a variety of non-profit organizations, a VICE web series, and won the 2020 Battle of Scores competition held by TIFF. Through his life and his art, his main goal is to spread messages of authenticity, compassion, and to shine a light on the peoples, places, and topics that may not have ever had a light to shine in.Shelly Grace (IG: @shellymgrace) - "Shelly Grace is a Toronto-based spoken word poet, photographer, and arts educator. She uses her art for community building and healing and focuses on the experiences of women and the Black community. In 2022 she was named Toronto’s Breakthrough Artist by Toronto Arts Foundation, and JAYU's Emerging Artist of the Year. In 2019 she won the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word while on the Up From The Roots slam team, becoming a National Spoken Word Champion. She is currently on the Toronto Poetry Slam team. She is also actively involved with VIBE Arts on their emerging artist roster, where she works as an art educator and performer. She is an artist and organizer with IBLV Tv, founded by celebrated Toronto artist Jermaine Henry. She has competed internationally as well, representing Canada in three American competitions."Testament ((IG: @testamentpeace) "Matthew-Ray Jones also known, as ‘Testament’ is a connoisseur of anything and everything involving words. From poetry, spoken word and emceeing to facilitating, hosting and keynoting, Testament has been using his natural speaking abilities to inspire audiences for over 15 years.Testament has performed and taught coast to coast nationally in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, British Colombia. He has also performed internationally in Venezuela and Italy.He has recorded 3 albums to date and shared stages with the likes of: Talib Kweli, Naughty by Nature, Biz Markie, GZA, Kardinal Official, Saukrates, Rich Kidd, Dam Funk and more.He has appeared on Breakfast Television, CP24 and MTV. He has been written about in Exclaim and Eye Weekly magazines plus numerous national and local newspapers. A father, an artist, entrepreneur and revolutionary. Testament uses his passion for words, art and life to motivate, inspire and lead."We hope to see you there! ... See MoreSee Less
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5 months ago

Art Starts
📣 Call for Artists: Animating Little Jamaica 2023 🇯🇲Art Starts is partnering once again with the Afro-Caribbean Farmer's Market to bring Little Jamaica to life in our summer activation - Animating Little Jamaica at 1531 Eglinton Ave. West. We are seeking artists to help us animate this vibrant market and transform it into a bustling creative hub with some live performances and workshops. This is a paid opportunity!We are seeking the following artists and their availability:✨Poets: July 16 ✨Live Painters: Aug 13 ✨Art Facilitator: UPDATE: Aug 27 ✨Performers: Sept 10 Apply via the link below and reach out to ashleigh@artstartsto.com for any questions.➡️Apply now: ... See MoreSee Less
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Art Starts Blog


Exciting Announcement: Meet Our New Executive Director, Spencer Phillips! 🌟

We are thrilled to announce a new chapter in our organization’s journey with the appointment of our new Executive Director, Spencer Phillips. With his impressive track record in community development, artistic programming, and a deep commitment to inclusive creative expression, we are confident that Spencer will take our organization to new heights. Spencer Phillips brings […]



Join Art Starts’ Community On Board!

These are exciting times in community arts!

At Art Starts, we believe that community arts programming should be community-driven and we are looking for community champions to join us on the Board of Directors! The Community On Board program aims to connect Art Starts community members with the opportunity to gain skills through a volunteer board training opportunity. Members from the communities served through Art Starts programming will have a chance to serve on the Board of Directors and learn about board governance.

Art Starts With You!

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