We are committed to providing opportunities for newcomers and immigrants to become more involved in their neighbourhoods and communities, and build on their existing skills, assets and ideas to develop their leadership skills.
Collaborating with professional and emerging artists over the years, has allowed us to develop and integrate an Arts approach, in which the local community and artists work together to develop and create projects that reflect their realities, hopes, dreams and passions. We have long worked with concepts that are based on current affairs, such as social justice and environmental issues. Check out our most successful collaborations:
Painting Class Sol Y Luna
“Taller Sol y Luna”is a multidisciplinary Inter-Arts workshop created to support emerging newcomer artists through the arts. It started over five years ago to provide community members an opportunity to participate in cultural and artistic activities that celebrate their diverse talents, showcase their artwork, deepen their community engagement and strengthen the relations among different ethno-cultural communities with whom we work.
Through the years, “Taller Sol y Luna” has worked in different art media including visual arts, photography, theatre, poetry, storytelling and media arts. Every year Taller Sol & Luna participates in the “The International Festival of Poetry & Words”, including music, poetry, visual arts & performance and “Word in the World”, the people’s poetry, music and art festival.
Taller Sol y Luna offers weekly painting classes. This class is an introduction to painting, suitable for the novice painter or as a refresher for those who have not painted for some time. The class focus on the fundamentals of colour theory, composition, perspective, paint handling and application, while developing one’s own creative and perceptual skills. With plenty of guidance and individual attention, students have the choice to paints from still life and photo references.
Classes are free and some materials are provided.
Classes are held Fridays from 10:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Registration is required.
Embroidery Group “Grupo Estelar”
Estela Martinez, visited from Mexico and offered to conduct 4 workshops in the ancient technique of embroidery, we put out a call for interested participants and the response we got from the community was amazing. Embroidering had long been a a part of women’s space back home, but for many, its practice had faded during their time in Canada. The workshops generated a lot of enthusiasm around the idea of reconnecting with roots and tradition. Working women has partnered with filmmaker Lucero Milchonera to participate in her upcoming documentary The Silent Thread. A documentary that explores the connections between traditional handcrafts, like Mexican embroidery and women’s empowerment and notions of self-value – Stay tuned!
Artisan Group “Mujeres Creativas”
Information coming soon
The Book of Memories
The Book of Memories was a cross-cultural multimedia project devoted to the exploration and celebration of memories of a group of senior women who participated in Working Women Community Centre’s programs.
Through the exploration of visual arts, written word, and involving the use of the seniors’ own handmade materials, the community participants expressed childhood memories and memories of starting a new life in Canada. Artists Amelia Jimenez and Lynn Hutchinson worked with the participants to produce a collaborative handmade book.
The artists facilitated a series of written word, printmaking, and bookmaking workshops, in which the women created original written works, block prints and photographic transfers.
Mapping Our Path
The fragments of glass that were brought together into a finished piece of art work is an apt metaphor for the newcomer’s journey in settling in the city they now call home. The multi-coloured pieces of glass represent the memories and feelings of each participant throughout their immigrant experience. This artistic endeavour enabled the women to share stories, develop skills and collaborate in a way they would not have been able to, if not for the city’s funding of the arts.
This project demonstrates how art is not a frivolous pastime, but a necessary element of any vibrant community. Especially in the case of newcomers to a city, the process of documenting your life journey through art can help ease the immigrant experience by helping people share aspects of their lives. At the same time participants beautified a section of the neighbourhood for the entire community to enjoy.”
Artists, Amelia Jimenez and Lynn Hutchinson Lee worked with a group of immigrant women from Working Women to develop the idea of a mosaic mural. “This experience connected me with new people in my community. I learned that my life was not so different from people who have been living here for a long time,” says Beatriz Salazar one of the immigrant women who participated in the project. “I realized we have the same struggles, the same ups and downs and this boosted my confidence level. Learning about my neighbours’ lives made me feel I was not alone. I feel like this mural project made me unafraid to be part of my community. I feel welcome.”
“Mapping Our Path” unfolded over 12 months and was made possible by funding from the Toronto Arts Council. The mosaic mural stands next to a community sculpture garden on Gladstone Ave. at Bloor St West.
“Scouring City, Brushing Sky”
SCOURING CITY, BRUSHING SKY is a labour/ community arts project of Red Tree and c3collective with women cleaners, community partner Working Women Community Centre and union partner Service Employees International Union. Developed and facilitated by artists Margo Charlton, Amelia Jimenez and Lynn Hutchinson, Scouring City, Brushing Sky shows us the lives, hopes and dreams of women who toil in office buildings and workplaces, often after everyone has gone home. “Scouring City, Brushing Sky” enhanced the participation of women from the working class sector. The intent – to express themselves through painting, writing, performance and tableau vivant was the perfect combination to attract women to be part of this project.
Many women who work in cleaning are non-unionized, racialised and low-income, often failing to earn a living wage and laboring in poor work conditions. The participants of this project came as immigrants and refugees in search of safety and a new life for themselves and their families. Some in the project did not yet have legal status in the country and still others could not complete the project, because they were deported back to their country of origin before its completion.
With this project, participants expressed that they felt included and recognized in a completely new environment. Their skills were acknowledged, and they had the opportunity to talk about their experiences as immigrant women workers. Through this project they were able to express their dreams, hopes and ideas about their present and their future. Most of the participants were Spanish speaking and they had the chance to speak and write in their own language, which gave them the confidence and comfort level to express themselves.